Governor Brian Kemp and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma announced on Thursday federal approval of Georgia’s healthcare reform package. From a presser issued by the Governor’s office:
“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.
“‘Georgia Pathways and Access will provide access to healthcare insurance for thousands of hardworking Georgians and lower premiums for millions more. This bold, innovative approach will lower the uninsured rate, spur competition in the marketplace, enhance the shopping experience for consumers, and improve health outcomes. Through Georgia Pathways and Access, we will build a safer, stronger, and healthier future for our great state.”
“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 Seema 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.”
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.
“Today, we are taking another critical step in driving down the cost of healthcare in Georgia. The ability to craft innovative solutions to Georgia-specific healthcare issues provides the flexibility necessary to improve our healthcare delivery systems,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “I want to thank Governor Kemp and the Department of Community Health for their tireless work on behalf of Georgians; the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Trump Administration for providing direction to states, which permits us to combat state-specific defects; and the General Assembly for its work in the passage of Senate Bill 106. We will continue the fight to deliver on our promise to bring affordable and accessible healthcare to all Georgians.”
In a separate press release, Georgia’s senior US Senator David Perdue praised the Trump administration for the review and approval of Governor Kemp’s plan:
“This announcement today from Governor Kemp and CMS Administrator Verma is welcomed news for the millions of Georgians who have been struggling to afford their healthcare coverage since the passage of the so-called Affordable Care Act. The Trump Administration’s guidance has provided states with greater flexibility to develop healthcare plans that work for them, instead of handicapping healthcare systems with burdensome federal mandates. The Georgia Pathways and Access Waivers’ innovative approach to healthcare coverage will restore choice, improve competition, and lower costs for all Georgians.”
The announcement was streamed live on Facebook with the replay available for viewing.