State Rep. Matthew Wilson (D-Brookhaven) will embark on a tour across the state in an effort to convince Gov. Brian Kemp to include expansion of Medicaid in this fall’s special legislative session. 

Wilson – who represents District 80, which includes portions of Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Atlanta, and Sandy Springs – will travel across the state to speak about Medicaid expansion, starting with a stop in Augusta on Oct. 15. Wilson will also travel to Columbus, Albany, Savannah, and Macon. 

Wilson originally penned a letter to Kemp in July of this year asking for Medicaid expansion to be included in the session. The letter was co-signed by 67 state senators and representatives, according to a press release. 

“The current state of affairs compels urgent legislative action,” reads the letter. “Vulnerable Georgians trapped in the coverage gap demand we take up this issue in our coming special session.”

The Georgia legislature will meet this fall to redraw district lines based on new U.S. Census data. During a July 19 meeting of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, Kemp said he would also consider taking up crime and public safety legislation during the special session.

During a July 27 press conference about the subject, Wilson – who recently announced a bid for Insurance Commissioner in 2022 – urged Kemp to also take up Medicaid expansion during the special session. Medicaid is a federal and state program that helps low income people with healthcare costs, and Georgia is one of 12 states that has not adopted the Medicaid expansion allowed through the Affordable Care Act, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a national health nonprofit. The federal government’s 2021 American Rescue Plan Act also offers additional fiscal incentives to states that have not yet expanded Medicaid if they choose to do so. 

A spokesperson for the Kemp administration declined to comment on the letter or Medicaid Expansion in general, but said that conversations about the state’s Georgia Pathways and Access Waivers are still ongoing with the federal government. If approved, the Georgia Pathways Waiver proposal would provide Medicaid to low income Georgia adults ages 19 through 64 who would not be otherwise eligible for Medicaid.

In the letter, Wilson writes that the state’s proposal would only cover a small portion of currently uninsured Georgians. During the July press conference, he added that the federal government has struck down waiver proposals with work requirements in the past. To be eligible for the Georgia Pathways Waiver, applicants would need to work or volunteer for at least 80 hours per month. 

A spokesperson for the governor’s office said the current call for the special session does not include Medicaid. 

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.