Democrats renew calls to include Medicaid expansion during special session |

ATLANTA – State legislative Democrats are holding a series of events this weekend through Tuesday to pressure Gov. Brian Kemp to include Medicaid expansion in the upcoming special legislative session. 

The session will convene Nov. 3 to redraw Georgia’s congressional and state House and Senate districts to accommodate population shifts during the last decade reflected in the 2020 U.S. Census.

Back in July, House Democratic Deputy Whip Matthew Wilson, D-Atlanta, sent a letter to Kemp that was co-signed by 67 other state lawmakers, in which they urged Kemp to include expanding Medicaid in Georgia. Kemp has resisted similar calls in the past.  

Wilson is running for Georgia insurance commissioner.

Democrats are holding press events in Augusta, Columbus, Albany, Savannah and Macon that will feature local elected officials and community advocates: 

  • 2:30pm, Friday, Oct. 15: Augusta Municipal Building 
  • 10:00am, Saturday, Oct. 16: Columbus Consolidated Government Plaza 
  • 2:30pm, Saturday, Oct. 16: Albany Government Center Plaza 
  • 10:30am, Tuesday, Oct. 19: Savannah City Hall 
  • 2:30pm, Tuesday, Oct. 19: Macon City Hall 

Georgia’s Constitution provides sole discretion to the governor to set the special session’s agenda, which he can amend until legislators gavel-in on November 3.  

“Fully expanding Medicaid would help bring health-care coverage to over 500,000 Georgians who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid under current state law but do not make enough to afford private health insurance,” Wilson said. “Georgia’s Medicaid program currently only covers parents making up to 30% of the federal poverty level for a family of four—less than $8,000 a year.” 

Georgia is currently home to the third-most uninsured individuals among the 50 states. 

Last month, during the heat of a bid to pass President Joe Biden’s now-stalled $1 trillion infrastructure plan, Georgia U.S. Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, along with U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, D-Suwanee, pushed to include a Georgia Medicaid expansion in the budget reconciliation bill. 

Georgia Democrats have sought Medicaid expansion since then-President Barack Obama steered the Affordable Care Act through a Democratic Congress in 2010 with no Republican votes.  

But Georgia remains among 12 Republican-run states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid, with former Gov. Nathan Deal and now Kemp citing the program’s costs.  

Kemp prefers a more limited expansion, which the Trump administration approved last year. But the new Biden administration has put that plan on hold because of concerns that it includes a work requirement for Medicaid recipients.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation. 

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