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Georgia leaders eye Medicaid waivers after Obamacare repeal fails

The collapse of the GOP health care overhaul has Georgia’s leaders wrestling over whether to stand pat and let a funding crisis continue to threaten the state’s fragile hospital system or seek changes that could open the spigots for more federal dollars.

Amid uncertainty about how insurance markets will be affected by the U.S. Senate’s inability to repeal the Affordable Care Act, influential conservatives in the state are already preparing for a debate next year over how to craft waivers to seek what could be vast changes to the state’s Medicaid program.

They cast the waivers as a conservative effort to shave the state’s costs by imposing new standards on recipients. They note that state officials would turn to a familiar figure to sign off on the changes: former Georgia U.S. Rep. Tom Price, now Trump’s health secretary. And they steer well clear of the E-word — expansion — to describe how they might work.

“It’s a good thing that Congress has finally played their hand — they’re inept and cannot do anything — and now it’s time to turn our hand over and play our cards,” said state Sen. Renee Unterman, the chairwoman of the chamber’s Health and Human Services Committee.


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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.