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Don't leave money on the table

POSTED: December 18, 2013 4:00 a.m.

The Georgia Hospital Administration and the Georgia State Medical Association are asking Gov. Nathan Deal to accept the federal government's offer of $40.5 billion for Medicaid expansion in our state.

Deal, however, is planning to leave that money on the table-just walk away from it.

In turning down these funds, he is refusing an opportunity to improve access to healthcare for low income families in Georgia. And, it is all for political reasons.

The Georgia Federation of Democratic Women is joining with thousands of other Georgians across the state to ask Deal to accept the Medicaid expansion offered by the federal government.

The Georgia Hospital Administration has already asked him to accept this help. Three rural hospitals have already closed and more will close. One of the most renowned hospitals in the nation, Grady Hospital, is in danger. Why? Because they can no longer afford to pay for all the uninsured patients they have to serve. This will hurt not only low income people, but people from all walks of life who depend on these hospitals for care.

Georgia has one of the highest number of people who live at or below poverty level, yet we rank 50th in the nation in the number of low income people who receive Medicaid.

By refusing to accept the $40.5 billion from the federal government, Deal will leave 650,000 Georgian's with no health care coverage.

If we accepted Medicaid expansion, the infusion of money into our economy would create more than 70,000 new jobs. It would add $8.2 billion a year in economic activity which would result in an additional $275 million in state and local tax revenue. The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute has carefully researched this issue and this data can be found on their website.

One-hundred percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion is covered by the federal government. After three years, the state will begin to take over some of the costs. The new revenue created by the new jobs would almost cover these costs.

Approximately 3,693 lives per year would be saved in Georgia if Deal accepted Medicaid expansion.

Deal, don't leave the money sitting on the table. Help your fellow Georgians have a healthy and secure future. Accept the Medicaid Expansion.

Bette Holland

Dawsonville

 

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