Moral Mondays has organized a petition to be delivered to the Governor today at 5pm regarding the expansion of Medicaid. My church, Northside Drive Baptist Church, made the decision to be a part of this organized petition delivery/ protest via a vote per church council, on which I have the privilege of sitting.
The video of Dr. Warnock’s call to action may be found here.
He is the Senior Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
I’m not big on moral arguments, and it would appear that Dr. Warnock is not either. But, sometimes the issue has both moral and measureable arguments. I will speak to the economic arguments.
The General Assembly passed gun legislation that stymies the mythical boogeyman of big gov’ment coming to take their guns. Admittedly I do not carry, but I also know not of people who are checked at the doors of churches that were clamoring for this legislation. In contrast, I do know of children who could benefit from the cannabis bill and the autism bill. I also know that leaving a very real and large amount of federal money on the table that could otherwise be used to further the quality of life and care of the working poor is nothing more than petty political pandering in an election year. **Please see also: Senator Carter’s vote on the gun bill.**
Why have the leaders in Georgia allowed themselves to become painted into such tight corners that they cannot make compromises?
Now let’s be clear: I despise taxes like any Republican worth their salt.
However, I despise even more missing out on a piece of the pie from the federal government to which I have already contributed! Good heavens, it isn’t as if they’re going to give that money back to me! I consistently see leaders having to take stances on policy issues that are in the extreme. And for what: the ability to tell certain factions or personalities that you’re more conservative or more progressive than someone else?
Policymaking is not a pissing contest. Leadership is not passing the buck from the executive to the legislative branch. Decision making based on campaign strategy may be effective in the checkers game of election cycles, but not in the chess game of a state’s well-being.
Jack Bernard of Georgia Health News wrote a comprehensive editorial on this subject. Following an interview with Governor Deal, Bernard highlighted some of the fuzzy numbers the Governor touts.
- Governor Deal asserts that Medicaid expansion would add 620,000 people to Medicaid rolls. Georgia’s uninsured rate has been estimated at up to 22 percent, the fifth highest in the nation.
- Expansion has been estimated to create 70,000 jobs (mostly private sector). These numbers are based on a Georgia State University study.
- The net cost of Medicaid expansion would be $35 million a year, based on the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute’s numbers. Taken in context, that’s a drop in the bucket for Georgia’s overall budget.
- Governor Deal disagrees with the one-size-fits-all approach taken by the ACA but forgets to mention that many GOP governors and legislatures that have asked for programmatic waivers regarding Medicaid expansion. These states took the time to tailor their Medicaid approach rather than passing the buck and turning their noses up to the federal government.
Georgia is being sold a bunch of buzz words in lieu of addressing actual healthcare policy. Citizens shouldn’t buy it and legislators should have the courage to attempt to tackle this challenge rather than pointing fingers between the legislative and executive branch.
Don’t pass up your time to shine, Governor, even if it means making a compromise. You have the courage and the team to create sound Medicaid policy that doesn’t leave Georgians’ hard earned money on the table. I encourage you and legislators around this great state to create sound policy rather than passing the buck. The majority of Georgians still believe compromise is not a dirty word.
I hate the fact that people think ‘compromise’ is a dirty word.~Barbara Bush