STATE IN BRIEF: Ga. faces $506M Medicaid gap

ATLANTA -- Facing a massive gap in Medicaid funding, Georgia's top health official on Thursday urged state legislators to adopt a tax hike on hospitals and health care plans.

The state is staring down a $506 million shortfall in Medicaid funds for the fiscal year that begins July 1, according to state Health Commissioner Rhonda Medows.

The recession has caused enrollment in the health program for the needy to soar. Medicaid rolls for low-income residents have jumped 7.7 percent from June 2009 to 2010 to more than 1 million people.

More furloughs could be coming

ATLANTA -- Even more furloughs could be on the way for state employees.

While Gov. Sonny Perdue has said his budget for the next fiscal year doesn't include more unpaid days for state employees, at least one agency head said she may need to again use furloughs to balance her budget.