Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Medicaid Expansion--NOT!

Gov. rejected quite a ‘deal’ for Medicaid

Marilyn Langford

Unfair and Unbalanced

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 6:05 PM CDT
Imagine for a moment someone says to you, “I’ll give you $9 million a day for three years. Free. You will continue to receive this amount in subsequent years, but each year you will have to put a small percent, (but not more than 10 percent) into the pot.” Nobody in his right mind would turn down a great deal like that. Right?

UNFORTUNATELY, GOV. Deal turned the deal down by refusing to expand Medicaid. In doing so, he deprived healthcare to 600,000 of the working poor in Georgia and axed the 70,000 jobs that would have been created. Smaller and rural hospitals will be forced to close their doors or become nothing more than a “first aid” station without Medicaid expansion. Even our own Monroe County Hospital would have benefited from this deal.

WHAT REALLY chaps my lips is the fact that the 9 million a day is OUR money. It’s our hard-earned tax dollars being sent to other states, primarily blue states, because they have Governors who put their citizens’ welfare before politics.

YOU MAY be thinking, “Gov. Deal must have a good reason?” The reason he stated was that the State may not be able to afford the 10 percent by the year 2020. He went on to say that he didn’t know what that amount would be. The Governor held no public hearings or performed studies before he turned down $39 billion. He just said, “No!”  We all know the real reason. The Republican Playbook. Don’t do anything that may help Obama look good. A dead give-away was Georgia’s Republican Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens’ statement about Obama Care. He said, “We will do everything in our power to be an obstructionist!”

AND THAT they did! After Gov. Deal delivered an initial crippling blow to Medicaid expansion, he did something highly unusual for a Governor. He abdicated his future decision-making authority in this matter to the Republican controlled State Legislature, thus delivering a deathblow to expansion. Or did he? Maybe he wasn’t so clever after all. It’s an election year and there are ways a NEW Governor can correct this injustice.

THE SAYING is that “all politics are local.” I know of people in my own community that work hard but do not make enough money to qualify for ACA insurance, and make too much to qualify for Medicaid. They fall into the gap that the Affordable Care Act meant to be filled by Medicaid expansion. I have relatives that fall into this gap. I have personally known people who died because they could not afford healthcare.  It is estimated that 10 people a day die in Georgia because of lack of health care. All this makes Medicaid expansion pretty darn local to me! How about you?

Marilyn Langford of High Falls writes a regular op-ed column in the Reporter sharing the liberal perspective on events.

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