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ASK THE EXPERTS

State needs Medicaid expansion

POSTED: January 16, 2013 4:00 a.m.

Last week in Sen. Steve Gooch's editorial he spoke of the horrors of implementing ObamaCare.

He gave us some biased figures meant to convince people that Gov. Nathan Deal's refusal to implement the health care provisions in this act is good for the people of Georgia.

One of Gooch's reasons for not implementing Medicaid is that too many people would then be able to go to the doctor and the lines would be too long for appointments.

So I guess that means if you are lower income you don't deserve medical attention because your presence would make us all wait too long to see a doctor.

The solution to that of course would be to start a campaign in our high schools to tell students about the many opportunities in health care. Besides being a doctor or a nurse, we will also need lab and X-ray technicians, nurses assistants, CMAs, accountants, receptionists and administrative assistants to help in the doctors offices and hospitals. Thousands of jobs would be created.

It would be hard to refute all that Gooch said in his lengthy editorial in the amount of words allowed for a "letter to the editor."

Tim Sweeney of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute summarized some of what is in a thorough report by the non-political Kaiser Family Institute (not what you will probably hear in reports from the Cato Institute or Heritage Foundation).

"Fully implementing health care reform in Georgia would extend insurance coverage to more than 1 million Georgians - including 700,000 by just expanding Medicaid.

The cost to the state? A mere 1 percent bump in overall spending over 10 years.

The new report estimates that full implementation of the Medicaid expansion, along with other provisions of the Affordable Care Act, would reduce the number of Georgians without health insurance by more than half.

Georgia would spend $2.5 billion more on Medicaid over 10 years if it expands. This amounts to barely a 6 percent increase in Georgia's Medicaid spending over the decade and only 1 percent growth in total state spending in this time frame.

Moreover, the state budget impact is further mitigated because the Medicaid expansion would reduce the amount the state would otherwise have to spend on health care for the uninsured by $700 million." See the full report at http://www.kff.org/medicaid/8384.cfm.

Unfortunately Gov. Deal and Sen. Gooch are only interested in the political statement of refusing the Medicaid expansion.

Who cares about the people of Georgia?

Bette Holland
Dawson County

 

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