GA business leaders support Medicaid expansion, despite state op - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

GA business leaders support Medicaid expansion, despite state opposition

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Recent hospital closures, coupled with many hospitals in the financial danger zone, has gotten the attention of Georgia businesses.

Now, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce is trying to find a way to protect our state's healthcare infrastructure.

"We have had five rural hospitals close in Georgia in the last two years," said healthcare consultant Brian Robinson. "That is an alarming rate."

Billions of dollars earmarked for more than 400,000 uninsured Georgians under the federal Affordable Care Act.

"Governor Deal says under the ACA, Medicaid Expansion is not fiscally responsible or sustainable because you can't trust the feds to keep their end of the deal and pay 90 percent of the cost," Robinson said.

Business leaders, led by The Georgia Chamber are finding a solution to what they are calling a "healthcare crisis".

"When a rural community loses its hospitals we not only lose our providers, we also lose a lot of skilled jobs, we lose a big part of that communities tax base," said Robinson.

"It's becoming a crisis. You can't sit here and watch hospital closures without becoming concerned," said Tommy Chambliss with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. "This is a devastating thing when it happens to a community."

The Georgia Chamber's healthcare access study is looking at options for the state to access federal healthcare dollars, and plan to present several solutions to Governor and the General Assembly in spring 2016.

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