Georgia removes 95,000 as it determines Medicaid eligibility

(The Center Square) — State officials have removed more than 95,000 from Georgia’s Medicaid rolls, but one Georgia group says the move merely returns the program to how it was administered for its first 50 years.

State officials said that of the 95,578 who lost coverage, 89,168 were removed because of “a lack of information received … to make an eligibility determination.” The state indicated it has information that more than 20,000 of those “procedurally terminated” would not have been eligible for an extension.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which Congress passed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, required Medicaid programs to keep people enrolled through the end of the public health emergency, which ended in May. The federal spending bill Congress passed in December required states to review Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program eligibility between April and May 2024.

“What we’re really talking about now is going back to the way Medicaid worked for the first five-plus decades of its existence, which is, you have to prove you’re eligible for the program, and then if you’re no longer eligible for the program, you don’t get it anymore,” Kyle Wingfield, president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, told The Center Square. “And the states which administer the program are responsible for doing that. So that’s the bottom line of what we’re really talking about here.”

The state is determining eligibility for all 2.7 million Georgians who receive Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids as part of the “unwinding” process, and in June, Georgia officials said the state initiated renewals for 216,991 people. In addition to the 95,578 who lost coverage, 64,423 were renewed for Medicaid or PeachCare for Kids coverage, and 56,990 retain coverage while the state determines their eligibility.

“We don’t want to remove people who are still eligible,” Wingfield said. “We don’t want it to be for some sort of administrative or bureaucratic paperwork reason. People who are eligible should remain on the program, but we’re talking about people who are not eligible.”

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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