ATLANTA (WSAV) — With the recent closing of rural hospitals and Atlanta’s Wellstar Medical Center, lawmakers say funding medical resources will be a top priority.

“Can we pass Medicaid this year. There have been portions of it but hopefully we can make Georgia a Medicaid state,” State Rep. Brian Prince (D-Augusta) said. 

Lawmakers say one new change this year will be to provide healthcare access to people getting out of prison and those below the poverty line.

“I am excited to expand Medicaid – a Georgia pathway – with the help of the courts that the plan we passed, Georgians First, is an excellent plan for able-bodied adults that are officially in the poverty range – 100% below the poverty level,” State Rep. Mark Newton (R-Augusta) said. 

State Rep. Mark Newton (R-Augusta) said, “We are addressing Medicaid providers not this in the budget and policy will come in terms of what do we want 4-6  to offer choices to people.”

Lawmakers say we must provide incentives for nurses due to a shortage and fund programs to graduate more healthcare professionals. 

State Rep. Brian Prince (D-Augusta) said, “There is a healthcare shortage across the nation. It’s just the personnel to get more people to go into the field that most people post pandemic are not coming back to work or taking traveling jobs,”

State lawmakers also want to lower prescription drug costs to expand access.