Health Care Spending in Georgia

The board that manages government health programs in Georgia is considering massive spending cuts that could deny, reduce or eliminate benefits to thousands of low-income women and children as well as to the blind, aged, disabled and those in hospices.

Options for cutting at least $172.6 million and perhaps as much as $327.6 million from Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids in next year's budget were outlined for the first time Wednesday for the Board of Community Health.

Commissioner Tim Burgess said he will ask board members to act on the proposal at a later meeting, but added that the agency has little choice because the cuts are required under new budget orders given department heads this month by Gov. Perdue.

Health benefits for state employees also will have to be examined, he told the board, warning that the state potentially faces a $400 million overrun for that program in next year's budget. However, he said he was not yet ready to make specific recommendations.