Viewpoint: Expanding Medicaid in Georgia

I'm sure you've heard the saying: this is a no-brainer… we've got a dollar waiting on a dime?

This is the situation we are in with Governor Deal and the state's GOP refusing to accept expanded Medicaid, paid for with federal dollars.

Georgia is home to the fifth largest uninsured population in the country - nearly 2 million Georgians lack health coverage.  Half of all Georgia's working age adults below 138 percent of the poverty level - $15,000 for an individual or $26,000 for a family of three - go without health coverage.

Expanding Medicaid could cover 500,000 Georgians who will otherwise remain uninsured.

"But it is a problem for the hospital because this piece of equipment is over 3 million dollars and this is going have to be replaced in the next two or three years so the question is where is Phoebe Putney going to find the money to buy two or three new machines like this," said

Dr. Charles Mendenhall.

Georgia should take advantage of new federal funding to expand Medicaid in 2014 to boost. Georgia's economy and create tens of thousands of new jobs, all while extending health coverage to hundreds of thousands of Georgians.

A modest state investment of about 1 percent of the state budget, ($2.1 billion over the next 10 years), to bring in new federal funding will help create more than $65 billion in new economic activity in Georgia over 10 years, which will support more than 56,000 new jobs throughout state.*

Dr. John Menden

This new economic activity and subsequent job creation will increase state and local tax collections by more than $2.2 billion over the next 10 years.

Along with $750 million in state revenue from the insurance premium tax the state has already projected, nearly $3 billion in new revenue will come to Georgia and its cities, counties, and school districts.

We agree with Dr. Mendenhall…it is idiotic to not expand Medicaid in Georgia and on this issue, Republicans appear to be out of touch with reality.