Southern States Look to Expand Public Health Insurance Programs 

By Consumers for Quality Care, on February 14, 2024

Southern States Look to Expand Public Health Insurance Programs 

Republican lawmakers in three Southern states – Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi – are exploring proposals to expand their state public health insurance programs in order to cover more residents, according to Politico.  

For years, Republicans rejected the idea of embracing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But recently a shift among Republicans lawmakers has occurred. Much of the shift can be attributed to a realignment of working-class voters moving to the Republican Party and to a growing consensus that state action is needed to ease the financial burden for these constituents. In addition, rural hospitals across the country, including the South, are finding it difficult to keep their doors open without funding from public insurance programs, like Medicaid. State lawmakers who had once been skeptical of Medicaid expansion now support the policy, because it’s the best way to stop the trend of rural-hospital closures.  

The shifting views of Republican lawmakers could transform health care for the most vulnerable residents in Republican-controlled Southern states. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, expanding health insurance programs in these three states could provide coverage for almost 470,000 uninsured consumers.  

CQC is encouraged that legislators in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi are looking into proposals to expand coverage, so that consumers who need it most might finally gain access to affordable, high-quality health care.