Georgia Proposal to Partially Expand Medicaid Would Disproportionately Jeopardize Patients with Cancer

January 21, 2020

The Georgia Society of Clinical Oncology (GASCO) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) sent a letter to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp with concerns about a proposal to partially expand Medicaid in the state. Known as an 1115 waiver, the proposal would extend Medicaid coverage to merely 89,000 of the 1.5 million uninsured Georgians, while imposing work requirements and other restrictions on the program. 

In the letter, the organizations write, “GASCO and ASCO appreciate the consequential and thoughtful investment that your new administration has made in assessing the specific challenges faced by Georgia’s healthcare system and uninsured population. However, the current proposal leaves far too many Georgians out and could disproportionately jeopardize patients with cancer.”

People with cancer are particularly in need of insurance coverage to allow for timely diagnosis and high-quality treatment. The proposed work requirement would mandate those covered under Medicaid to provide proof they are working or engaged in a qualifying activity, even though cancer is a life-altering event that often causes a dramatic reduction in work hours. The letter also notes that the proposal would reduce access to non-emergency medical transportation, which many rural Georgians rely on to make their appointments. 

The organizations highlight their strong support for Georgia’s existing ‘Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program’ aimed at helping uninsured Georgians and encourage the Governor to continue to invest in this successful initiative. They also recommend the state extend eligibility to a wider age range and include other cancers so that more Georgians can benefit from access to Medicaid. 

Read the letter to Governor Kemp and ASCO’s policy statement on Medicaid reform

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