Ga. senators push to grow health coverage even if states balk

From left: Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
From left: Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.(WRDW)
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 7:51 AM EDT
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ATLANTA - A dozen states are rejecting an offer of extra federal money if they expend Medicaid and Georgia’s two Democratic U.S. senators are pushing for a federal workaround.

Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock on Wednesday said they want the federal government to find a way to provide health insurance coverage to people in Georgia and 11 other states that haven’t agreed to expand the Medicaid program.

Georgia’s senators say they want the legislation attached to one of President Joe Biden’s major proposals.

More than 450,000 people in Georgia could become eligible for coverage under an expansion. Gov. Brian Kemp has pursued a narrower expansion.

Warnock and Ossoff pushed for the workaround in a letter to Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Today, we write to respectfully request that provisions to close the coverage gap in Medicaid non-expansion states through federal action be included as part of any package to improve health care and our economy. Underserved communities, communities of color, and communities who have suffered the most during the COVID-19 pandemic, must finally be prioritized,” said the lawmakers. “Closing the coverage gap and providing more Americans with quality, affordable health care coverage is the most effective policy to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities and would be a major step towards decreasing the high rates of uninsured Americans in non-expansion states.”


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