Low-income Georgians could remain without healthcare - CBS46 News

Low-income Georgians could remain without healthcare

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

Come January, hundreds of thousands of low-income Georgians could remain without health insurance even after Obamacare goes into effect.

A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that is because the state decided against expanding Medicaid, which would have paid for their coverage.

The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, required states to expand Medicaid.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down that provision, leaving it up to the states to decide whether to expand the program that provides healthcare coverage for low-income Americans.

Georgia decided and opted not to cover more Georgians under Medicaid.

Gov. Nathan Deal has said expanding Medicaid would cost the state billions of dollars.

"It'll put a strain on the state's budget," Gov. Deal said.

Alan Essig, executive director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, said many low-income Georgians will remain without coverage even with Obamacare since Medicaid cannot pay for them.

"Without the expansion 400,000 Georgians will fall through the cracks," Essig said.

All those uninsured Georgians could put a strain on the state's hospitals.

"It would be millions of dollars," Essig said.

A Medicaid recipient CBS Atlanta interviewed worried that she may not be covered.

La Kiesha Hampton Mitchell just gave birth to her daughter, Mecca, five days ago, but her Medicaid coverage runs out at the end of the year.

Mitchell, a married mother of three, does not know how she will cover doctor's visits for her or her newborn baby girl.

"You're kind of really on your own," Mitchell said. "It's unfair not to be able to receive the coverage you need because you can't afford it at the time."

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