According to the State of Georgia's Office of the Governor, Governor Sonny Perdue, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Speaker Glenn Richardson announced today a temporary PeachCare solution that will keep Georgia’s children insured while Congress finalizes its funding proposal for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP).
The solution will temporarily use state funds already in the budget for Medicaid to cover the shortfall in PeachCare until Congress appropriates the funding in the federal supplemental spending bill. This would not move children into the Medicaid program; it would simply change state law to allow Georgia to borrow state funds already slated to be used to pay for Medicaid to cover PeachCare costs in this interim period. Any Medicaid funds expended would then be repaid from the Congressional shortfall funds when they are approved.
On March 8th, U.S. House Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey’s office outlined that the U.S. House version of the supplemental appropriations bill would include an additional $735 million to address shortfalls in the S-CHIP programs of 14 states.
“Congress’ recent action gives me confidence that using these funds as a stopgap is appropriate to meet the needs of our children,” said Perdue. “This will allow us to keep this important program intact while we wait for our federal partners to finish their work in Washington, D.C.”
Governor Perdue’s proposal would change the wording in the amended general appropriations act in three places to allow Medicaid funds to be used to temporarily meet the costs of the PeachCare program. The backfill created by the funding from Medicaid to PeachCare would be filled in the federal supplemental appropriations bill, now working its way through Congress.
“Using Medicaid for temporary funding is the right solution,” said Speaker Glenn Richardson “It allows us to ensure the children of working families have continued access to health care and allows the House to move forward on other priorities while Congress acts.”
“Governor Perdue has continued to lead on this issue of children’s healthcare,” said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. “This proposal allows the Senate to meet the needs of Georgians and continues to show Congress that we are willing to meet our share of this successful federal, state partnership.”