Coalition Urges Governor to Reconsider Medicaid Expansion

first_imgAdd to My List In My List A coalition of patient advocates and health care providers called on Gov. Nathan Deal Tuesday to reconsider his opposition to expanding Medicaid under the federal health reform law.At the state Capitol, members of the Cover Georgia coalition made their case for expanding the state healthcare program for the needy. Dr. Harry Struthers, a family physician, said extending coverage to the uninsured will help control costs in the long-run.“Seeing people for preventative care is a lot more efficient than seeing them after they’ve had their stroke,” said Struthers.Under the law, the expansion would begin in 2014 and extend coverage to more than 600,000 low-income Georgians. The federal government would cover all expansion costs for the first three years, and about 90 percent thereafter.Georgia State University economist Bill Custer said the financial case is too strong to ignore.“There are clear economic advantages for Georgia taxpayers for expanding because we have a large number of uninsured who do get care and that care has to be financed in some way and right now we finance it as inefficiently as possible,” said Custer.This month, Custer issued a report showing the expansion would help generate 70,000 new jobs and boost the state economy by $8.2 billion each year.However, Governor Deal maintains Georgia simply can’t afford the expansion.“When you’re having a tough time paying for what you already have, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to expand it and cost yourself even more,” said Deal in an interview with WABE earlier this month.The state Medicaid program is currently facing a nearly $400 million budget deficit.Nonetheless, coalition members say they’re encouraged by several cases across the country in which Republican governors have changed positions since the November election and decided to move forward with expansion.  Related Stories Share For Whom The Bell Rings Legal Advocate Discusses Medical Abuse At Shut Down Georgia ICE Facility ‘It’s Fractured’: Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan On Healing Republican Partylast_img read more