Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announces Medicaid waiver plan

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announces Medicaid waiver plan
Georgia State Capitol Building in Atlanta. (Source: WTOC)

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia's Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has unveiled a proposal that would authorize his office to pursue Medicaid waivers.

The goal is to give the state more flexibility in using federal health care funding.

But some Democrats worry that the legislation introduced Wednesday would give Kemp nearly free rein in designing and implementing the program.

A federal waiver, as opposed to a full Medicaid expansion backed by Democrats, would give Georgia options to adopt a more conservative plan than called for under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Under the ACA, anyone who fell slightly above the poverty line qualified for Medicaid benefits.

The Patients First Act would cap that eligibility at the poverty line. Other aspects remain unclear.

Kemp said the legislation should help lower private sector health care costs.

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