Georgia’s two Democratic U.S. senators said Tuesday they are still working to include a massive Medicaid expansion provision in the Senate’s final spending bill. 

“We are united in this push and to doing everything we can to ensure that our constituents who lack health insurance, have access to health care and to close the circle on the Affordable Care Act by ensuring that folks are not suffering or dying, simply because the state government has decided not to expand Medicaid,” said U.S. Jon Ossoff.

Georgia remains among 12 Republican-run states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid, with former Gov. Nathan Deal and current Gov. Brian Kemp citing the program’s costs.   

Kemp prefers a more limited expansion, which the Trump administration approved last year. But the Biden administration has put that plan on hold because of concerns it includes a work requirement for Medicaid recipients.   

Ossoff said both he and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock have spoken to U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, several times to secure his support. Manchin and U.S. Sen. Krysten Sinema, D-Arizona, have expressed serious reservations about the size and cost of President Joe Biden’s $3.7 trillion spending and infrastructure plan. 

“Health care is a human right in every state,” Warnock said. “Your ability to access health care ought not to be based on personnel. The Affordable Care Act is the law, and Medicaid saves lives.” 

Georgia Democrats have pushed for Medicaid expansion since then-President Barack Obama steered the Affordable Care Act through a Democratic Congress in 2010 with no Republican votes.   

Ossoff and Warnock declined to comment on whether they would support Biden’s massive infrastructure spending bill if Medicaid expansion was not included in the final version.  

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.