First Focus on Children submitted the following comment to the Department of Health and Human Services out of deep concern for Georgia’s proposal to waive federal rules under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Georgia’s application frames the waiver as a solution for the state’s high uninsured rate. But the best solution to that problem is to join 38 other states and DC and adopt the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults and their families. We are distressed that Georgia is instead proposing a fragmented system that could cause tens of thousands of Georgians to fall through the cracks and lose coverage altogether, while other families with children would likely end up in skimpy plans that impose high costs if they get sick. First Focus on Children vehemently opposes this proposed waiver. As an organization, we support expanding health coverage for children and their families, and the 1332 waiver will do exactly the opposite. Georgia already has the 5th highest rate of uninsured children in the country, with nearly 217,000 children without health coverage. To decrease this number, we instead propose that Georgia adopts Medicaid expansion, which would sharply reduce the state’s uninsured rate, help with responding to the ongoing pandemic, and bring billions in additional federal funding into the state. Research has shown that in states that have expanded Medicaid for adults, children are less likely to go uninsured because their parents have coverage. This proposed waiver is not the way to reduce the high uninsured rate as Medicaid expansion has been shown to be effective in increasing coverage for families and especially children.