Georgia is losing private hospitals because the costs of taking care of the state’s overwhelmingly poor and uninsured population is not a sustainable (profitable) business proposition. Georgia’s governor (Nathan Deal – Republican) could solve the problem for both hospitals and uninsured, by adopting the Affordable Care Act – which costs the state absolutely $0 for the first three years. After three years, Georgia only need pay 10% of the costs.
The state’s entire uninsured population would be able to obtain affordable private insurance or public Medicaid benefits. No one would go to an emergency room without insurance. Even more interesting, as more people can afford simple regular check-ups and preventative care, the very need for ER treatment (the most expensive treatment imaginable) would be reduced significantly as well.
So what options did Georgia’s governor choose to solve these problems? Leave people uninsured, deny Medicaid expansion, AND overturn The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act of 1986 (a law enacted by Ronald Reagan himself) so that hospitals in Georgia can now turn away emergency cases if the sick or injured patients don’t have insurance.
I remember a time when conservatives were both fiscally conservative, and had the capacity to understand both basic math and social justice. Setting up a private system and expansion of Medicaid enables more people have insurance, allowing them to pay their medical bills, and doesn’t leave hospitals or states footing the bill. That massive dollar figure, related to high risk pools and uninsured care, is virtually eliminated when everyone has insurance.
Unfortunately, the Republican governor’s solution (and presumably the same solution being proposed by governors and national (R) politicians en masse today), is to tell uninsured people to just die if they’re having that heart attack, or having a baby, or had the nerve to get in a car accident or hit by a bus – without insurance.
It costs money to care for people who are uninsured. The solution is to help people, our neighbors, family and friends, to get insurance – not eradicate all uninsured people from the face of the Earth.
This writer believes in fiscal conservatism, and in the important role conservatives play in maintaining a balance among the diverse concerns and opinions of our free society. But when one of our main political parties believes it more important to eradicate their fellow countrymen for the sake of their own power, rather than help them and risk enabling someone who might possibly vote against them one day, that group has irrevocably proven themselves unfit to govern.
Be sure and vote. If they don’t let you vote, file civil and criminal legal action – you can even call the police and FBI. Not sure if you can initiate a lawsuit or legal action? Call the ACLU or MoveOn.org or MSNBC and tell them what you’re seeing on the ground.
The American people deserve to have their diverse concerns represented. There is no justification to allow one governor or one party to disenfranchise or in very literal terms eliminate the opposition.
1. The Telegraph: Another rural GA hospital calls it quits.
2. AATTP.org: Georgia’s Republican Gov. Wants To Save Money By Not Allowing Poor People To Receive Emergency Care!