(The Center Square) — Less than 300 people have enrolled in the new Georgia Pathways to Coverage program as of Aug. 17, state officials confirmed to The Center Square.
Just 265 people have enrolled in Georgia’s new Pathways program, which launched on July 1. It provides Medicaid to Georgians between 19 and 64 years old with a household income up to the federal poverty level and who meet the qualifying activities threshold but are not eligible for regular Medicaid.
In his State of the State, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, said the state negotiated with the federal government on the program but blamed President Joe Biden’s administration for delaying its launch for more than a year. At the time, the governor indicated roughly 345,000 Georgians could qualify for the program, though officials now say the estimated adoption rate was to reach around 90,000 to 100,000 by 2025.
“While the federal government initiated and dictated a process for redetermining the qualifications of traditional Medicaid recipients, Georgia is the only state in the country simultaneously offering a new pathway to healthcare coverage and opportunity,” Garrison Douglas, a Kemp spokesperson, told The Center Square in an email. “As applications continue to be reviewed, the number of hardworking Georgians who will benefit from this new and innovative program will continue to grow.”
The new program launched as the state reverifies Georgians’ eligibility for Medicaid. As part of the process, by the end of June, the state removed at least 97,237 people from its Medicaid roles — 90,749 as part of a “procedural termination” and 6,488 deemed ineligible.
“The recent discussions surrounding Medicaid unwinding have brought to light potential changes requiring re-enrollment and eligibility redetermination that could significantly affect individuals, senior adults, children, teens and families relying on Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids benefits,” Rep. Kim Schofield, D-Atlanta, said in a release announcing a community event. “For many, these programs could potentially disrupt the health care stability of these families and put the health of their children at risk if they lose their benefits.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor