Loeffler: Georgia is Leading the Way in Lowering Health Insurance Costs

Praises Kemp, Trump Administration for Bringing Solutions After Obamacare Left Georgians With Fewer Choices, Higher Costs

ATLANTA – U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) today joined Governor Brian Kemp, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma and other state leaders in announcing that CMS is approving Georgia’s two proposals to give low-income and hardworking middle-class Georgians access to more affordable health insurance.

“Obamacare has left Georgians with far fewer choices and far higher costs, as health insurance premiums skyrocketed in the Peach State by more than 105% in just three years,” said Senator Loeffler. “The reforms announced today by Governor Kemp and CMS Administrator Verma will help over 400,000 low-income Georgians access health insurance and will lower premiums by as much as 25% for thousands of hardworking Georgians. Under these waivers, Georgians will have more choices in their health insurance options, and it will be easier for them to find a plan that works for their family, all while continuing to protect patients with pre-existing conditions. Once again, Georgia is leading the way, and I commend Governor Kemp, CMS Administrator Verma and the Trump administration for working together to give Georgians more affordable health insurance.”

“Since the passage of the Patients First Act in 2019, we have worked with a team of experts and the Trump Administration to develop a Georgia-centric healthcare plan that provides access to health insurance for the first time to hundreds of thousands of Georgians, and makes it affordable for millions more,” said Governor Kemp. “Today, we are proud to announce that our innovative approach to healthcare reform has been approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. I thank President Trump, Vice President Pence, Administrator Verma, Secretary Azar, and Secretary Mnuchin for their support of our work to deliver more affordable, accessible healthcare to Georgians.”

“For decades, states have been treated inside the beltway less like the laboratories of democracy they are and more like executive departments of Washington, D.C.,” said CMS Administrator Verma. “All that has changed under President Trump. He has empowered states, not micromanaged them. The result has been innovative, effective healthcare reforms like those Georgia has unveiled today. I applaud Governor Kemp for taking President Trump up on his invitation to get creative in caring for his state’s residents.”

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Under the leadership of Governor Kemp and state officials, CMS is approving two waivers designed to help more Georgians afford health insurance. There are approximately 400,000 low-income Georgians who currently do not have any affordable health insurance options who will gain access through these waivers.

Georgia Pathways, approved under a 1115 Medicaid waiver, will allow these Georgians to apply for Medicaid or reimbursement for employer-sponsored insurance, as long as they participate in at least 80 hours a month of a “qualifying activity” such as work, volunteering or workforce training.

CMS has completed its review of Georgia’s 1332 waiver request, Georgia Access, and is working with the state and federal partners to finalize the terms and conditions for approval. Georgia Access will lower health insurance premiums for the thousands of Georgians who purchase their own health insurance in the individual market. After Obamacare took effect in 2013, through 2017, premiums increased an average of 106%. Since 2016, 129,000 Georgians have left the individual market, as premiums skyrocketed. Under Georgia Access, the state will fund a reinsurance program, which will lower premiums by an average of 10%, with some areas seeing a decrease of as much as 25%. Georgians will also be able to more easily choose health insurance plans that meet their families’ needs.