The irrefutable logic of Medicaid expansion for Ga.

AP_198790577553-1024x689-1Slowly, painfully, reluctantly, Georgia’s Republican leadership is coming to grips with reality.

They can no longer deny that the state’s health-care delivery system is in crisis, particularly in rural areas that are already underserved by hospitals and physicians. They acknowledge that public hospitals in urban areas are struggling as well, trying to serve the hundreds of thousands of Georgians with no access to health insurance. And at least some in the party are willing to admit that GOP efforts to patch together a solution have largely failed.

Sure, out of sheer cussedness at this point, the state still refuses to accept billions of dollars in federal health-care assistance readily available through Obamacare. Even as other Republican-led states find a means to accept the assistance, Georgia has not, and the impact has been substantial. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Georgia has the second-highest rate of uninsured in the country, at 18 percent of the nonelderly population. Many of those are working Georgians, people who work in the increasing number of lower-paid jobs but have no feasible means of affording coverage.

Some of those uninsured are getting some degree of health care anyway, and by doing so are adding to the system’s financial strain. Some are not getting that health care, and are either dying or living in perpetual sickness and pain. And much of it is completely unnecessary.

In an interview earlier this month with Denis O’Hayer of WABE radio, the chair of the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee acknowledged the situation.

“You may say, ‘Well, I don’t care about those people, they’re not my next-door neighbor, I don’t relate to them, I have my insurance,” Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, said. “Well, unfortunately, it does relate to you, because you’re paying for those people, You’re paying for them in increased insurance premiums and you’re paying for them with increased taxes.”

A previous opponent of Obamacare and Medicaid expansion in Georgia, Unterman now argues that the state needs to find a politically and financially feasible way of ending its short-sighted boycott of the program.

“How long can you actually sit there and say, ‘No, no, no, we don’t want something,’ and continue to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into sustaining a system that’s not very good anyway,” she asked.

Like Unterman, Gov. Nathan Deal has also expressed a willingness to at least consider Medicaid expansion in the state. However, thanks to a 2014 law passed to reiterate Georgia’s defiance of the federal offer, he no longer has the necessary authority on his own. Any expansion will require legislative agreement, and that is far from guaranteed.

To an important degree, the outcome will depend on this fall’s national elections. Since 2010, Republicans have repeatedly promised their base that they would repeal Obamacare, and they have repeatedly failed. They have also repeatedly promised to produce their own feasible alternative to Obamacare, and they have failed repeatedly at that as well.

If Hillary Clinton wins the White House, as now appears likely, whatever lingering hope the GOP might still have at repealing Obamacare will disappear forever. If Clinton’s margin of victory is substantial and the Democrats succeed in retaking the U.S. Senate and making inroads into the House, even the most stubborn of GOP holdouts may finally concede to reality.

Reader Comments 1

757 comments
Scott Shockley
Scott Shockley

Sounds like the perfect reason for all you liberals to move somewhere else. Bye

Gwen Heath Johnson
Gwen Heath Johnson

Just another red state.....keeping their residents sick, dumb and broke.

Nala L Doowtrop
Nala L Doowtrop

Insurance and Pharmaceutical companies took control of the healthcare system from the doctors in the 70s and 80s.

JasonLago
JasonLago

People having kids they never plan to care for and then expecting the responsible citizens to pay for them. Amazing

Michael Fisher
Michael Fisher

If you allow the government to take from others, you are inviting them to take from you.

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

What bubble can you hide in to ignore how the other states have fared with expanded Medicaid? The "fraud meme" can't stand up to the cold hard facts. It's no surprise that the 4 most uninsured states didn't expand: Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma and Florida. The rural areas hurt the most in those states. Then there's the coverage gap - people with jobs that put them above the unexpanded Medicaid limits, but too poor to afford the exchange.

What is beyond tragic is this is not about anything but anti-obamism. Georgia will expand when he's not in the White House. The state leaders will quietly try to get the populace to forget they wasted so many years and countless lives to make the point that Rush told them to make.


Kevin Kitchen
Kevin Kitchen

Most of the problems with this are in rural areas of the state that always vote Republican because they hate blacks, gays and Mexicans. The Atlanta and Savannah metro are doing okay. So let the haters die. Who the hell cares?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

The light blue and gold indicates improper payment amounts to Medicare and Medicaid.

http://tinyurl.com/j9hxy8d 

That's not to say, I'm opposed to an expansion of Medicaid but it begs the question...

who's taking from whom?

Is government's ineptitude taking from those most in need or are fraudsters taking from those in need and the U.S. taxpayer?

Is it a combination of the two who take from all of us, whether in need or not.

I would argue it's the later.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@FIGMO2 The Administration says billions are just " pocket change " in the big scope of things besides it does not take long to borrow or print 150 billion

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Wake up, all Georgians, and speak out as I do here.  Even one ripple in the ocean is better than no ripple.  Together, we can create a huge wave.  MES believes that she's making a difference by blogging on the AJC.  Now THAT'S effing hilarious.  LOL

Peachs
Peachs

@DownInAlbany Downs you are like one of those store owners, in one of those cowboy movies pulling a pistol out of his apron and telling the marshall ,he is right behind him, shaking the whole time..

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings


Thanks to all the guys and gals who can see what I am about and said so.  Much appreciated!

KUTGF
KUTGF

@DownInAlbany I give her credit for her effort rather than the foolish RW trolls who post that their purpose here is to "aggravate Dems, Libs, Progressives, immigrants, others" 

And who are you to claim that she is not. 

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@DownInAlbany 

MES believes she makes a bigger difference by doing something than by doing nothing.  I respect that.

gotalife
gotalife

Hillary is full of energy today with this speech.


trump was low energy.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@gotalife Do you really think the House and Senate will allow her to do any of those things she promised? They will not FUND any of her promises, I betcha!

rimsky
rimsky

Donald Trump finally gave his Great Big Anti-Hillary Speech Wednesday; he had planned it for last week before the unpleasantness in Orlando forced him to instead yell at Muslims and tell some lies about immigration and why Hillary Clinton hates The Gays. Constrained again by teleprompters, Trump did his very best to sound Presidential, but instead sounded like Donald Trump under heavy sedation. We aren’t sure it was an improvement. But it was definitely a Trump event: It was held at the Trump SoHo in New York, so we can look forward to seeing at the end of the month how much the campaign paid Trump’s hotel for the day. And he got through the 45-minute speech without saying “bigly” even once.

Read more at http://wonkette.com/603262/donald-trump-gives-low-energy-teleprompter-speech-and-nobody-cares-sad#iMxJ22JSXWQgrBQ1.99

Peachs
Peachs

@rimsky Trump looked like one of those thugs, in Glenn Ford's Pocketful of Miracles, faking NY society to fool in laws, and totally convinced they were scoring their purpose. 

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

The best part about my rep, John Lewis, is, he's not doing this for votes. He's doing it to represent the folks who will easily re-elect him term after term. Unlike Republicans who are always tacking further to the right, no one could ever try to be more than what John has always represented.

rimsky
rimsky

dramatic difference in health outcomes between those with private insurance and those on medicaid. //////

Seriously.  How come.

The Doom
The Doom

@rimsky


The main difference is that Docs get paid a low reimbursement rate on Medicaid. If you call for a Doc appointment and they have 1 appt open next Thursday and its between a Medicaid patient and a patient who has private insurance that pays a much greater reimbursement who do you think the Doc's office is going to schedule for that appt? 


That's why I think if we are going to go to a universal system we would be better off with a system that has medical savings accounts similar to Singapore's system. It levels the playing field, cuts way down on administrative expense, patients can manage their own health care dollars, and Docs are quite happy just taking cash via a debit card swipe of a MSA account as opposed to filing forms all day with Medicaid or an insurance company. Everybody is better off including Joe taxpayer. You can cut down on both govt and insurance bureaucrats. 

The Doom
The Doom

@rimsky @Doom Classical liberal


I think it makes sense too. Do some reading on Singapore's system when you get a chance. 


They use MSAs. And if one family member has more medical needs while other family members are healthy the other family members can contribute dollars to that sick family members MSA account from their accounts to help out. 


For catastrophic events you would have an insurance policy to cover calamitous events like invasive cancer and other dreaded diseases like ALS or MS. 

honested
honested

@Doom Classical liberal @rimsky 

Just how is that better than a centralized system with everyone paying at the same rate through taxation and everyone receiving the care they need?

MSA,s are a sop to those who profit from selling MSA's.

The Doom
The Doom

"We must expand Medicaid in Georgia as a legitimate part of Obamacare.  People are hurting and even dying because of this Republican Southern pride political nonsense."- Mary E. 


At long last I'll have to come around and agree with the progs on this one. I think we should expand Medicaid in the short term and then reform it later on to a more efficient system. 


As I pointed out to Ed a few nights ago with numerous studies there is little difference between health outcomes of people with no insurance vs being on medicaid and there's a dramatic difference in health outcomes between those with private insurance and those on medicaid. 


Medicaid is costly, consuming on average 22% of state budgets last time I checked, and is poorly run with poor health outcomes. Nevertheless, its better than nothing at all and I have some clients right now stuck between a rock and a hard place. One has invasive cancer, just lost her current medicaid eligibility, and right now I'm trying to help the family with charitable options. It would be a blessing for folks like her unless we can find charitable care that will cover the continued cost of her treatments.


So yeah. Let's go ahead and expand it for now. And lets also have some truth telling about how poorly run the system is and look at reforming it with a system of medical savings accounts and catastrophic policies if we're talking about having universal coverage.  


gotalife
gotalife

It's the economy stupid.


First, end trickle down bs,.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Skydog there are no more hippies when you and I say there are no more hippies.

Really wish I was going to see Warren do Jerry this week but I'm out of town.

skydog12
skydog12

@JeffreyEav


das right, and I have young hippy churrin coming up to take our place.


Warren is a bad axe.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Warren Haynes is a special individual. My twins are with your hippie kid.

skydog12
skydog12

@JeffreyEav


I have been described as a dove with cruise missiles under my wings.

gotalife
gotalife

We need to make sure our economy works for everyone.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@gotalife That's also the thought process the Clintons have for their Foundation 

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