Deal camp blasts Jason Carter’s Medicaid expansion idea

June 9, 2014 20:12 pm

by Jason · 24 comments

Gov. Nathan Deal’s campaign has responded to Jason Carter’s suggestion that Georgia could adopt an Arkansas-style Medicaid expansion plan, explaining the Natural State’s example isn’t one we should follow:

Senator Jason Carter vowed his support today for a Medicaid expansion plan that’s even more expensive than the one offered by President Obama. The so-called “Private Option,” adopted by Arkansas, would saddle taxpayers with higher costs and limit patient access to quality care.

“Despite Obamacare proponents’ claims, the Medicaid expansion ‘deal’ Arkansas struck with the federal government is an unmitigated disaster,” said Jen Talaber, Deal campaign spokeswoman. “In fact, the Arkansas legislature had to vote five times before narrowly agreeing to continue to fund expansion this year. Billed as an alternative to ‘traditional’ Medicaid expansion, the plan provides no meaningful flexibility, no true private coverage, and higher costs for taxpayers now and well into the future.

“Worse, Arkansas is responsible for all cost overruns. So much for claims the federal government would foot 100 percent of the bill. The Private Option is already so over-budget, some projections show the program costing tens of millions above federal spending caps this year alone.

“In order to cope with the price tag and balance the state budget (something Washington, D.C., doesn’t worry about), Arkansans must choose between tax hikes or cuts to education and public safety.

“Coverage doesn’t equal access to care. Senator Carter is doubling down on a broken system. Many health care providers won’t see Medicaid patients because it reimburses them below the cost of care. Under the Carter plan, our most vulnerable populations will compete with hundreds of thousands more people for those limited number of slots.

“Senator Carter also criticizes any discussion of Obamacare’s harmful longterm effects as “the worst of Washington politics.” In reality, Arkansans are the ones living with the worst of Washington politics, and patients and taxpayers paying the price. We’ve only begun to see the consequences of this costly mistake. It is one that Georgians can’t-and won’t-repeat.”

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 9, 2014 at 8:35 pm

People should not be fooled by Jason Carter’s votes for the gun bill and state income tax caps.

Jason Carter is a classic tax-and-spend big-government liberal and if given the chance he will raise taxes and vastly expand the size and scope of Georgia state government.

Harry June 9, 2014 at 11:04 pm

You know that Georgia has made huge strides since the sea change happened 11 years ago. In spite of the complaining we really do have a good if sometimes over-tasked road network. We are an attractive state for business, and in spite of being hit hard in 2008, have come back strong. Improvements are being made in education although more needs to be done. The health care system does the most good for the most people, provides a safety net, and is in line with our means without bankrupting the state such as what is happening in Illinois. Atlantans love to complain, but just compare Atlanta with the trends in Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, and yes, even Chicago…the contrast is amazing. Savannah is the fourth busiest container port today (don’t ever bet against the Georgia Ports Authority), and the channel dredging to 47 feet could start as soon as the second half of this year.

We’ve achieved quite a lot because we haven’t killed economic expansion. The Kid is showing his face now, shallow and inexperienced as may be. Don’t fall for the snake oil of tax-and-spend. It will not cure health care, education, transportation, or any other problems that the worthy opposition can manage to throw in the mix.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 9, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Good points and good comments.

Stefan June 10, 2014 at 2:34 am

If by “expanding the size and scope of Georgia” you mean Jason Carter is finally going to take back that part of Georgia currently labelled as “Tennessee,” then I’m for it.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 10, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Tennessee says that “Georgia will get that land back over its dead body” and Georgia responds back by saying “well that can be arranged, you know…”.

Bull Moose June 10, 2014 at 1:27 am

My God here comes the Deal campaign to attack… All fear Corrupt Lord Vader.

Under the Deal plan, rural GA won’t have access to any hospitals because they’ve all closed down because the Governor refused to accept the Medicaid expansion money.

Also, under the Deal plan, taxes will have to go up to make up the difference in the money WE ARE ALREADY PAYING but not receiving because Governor Deal refused to accept the Medicaid expansion money.

Somehow, I feel if there were a way for Deal or any member of his inner circle to make money off of this, they would have accepted the federal money and expanded Medicaid. But because there’s nothing in it for them, the rest of Georgians are put out to the pasture.

Bull Moose June 10, 2014 at 1:33 am

Also, please, will someone let the Empire know that in states where the Governors expanded Medicaid, hospitals are saving millions of dollars!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/04/medicaid-expansion-hospitals-uninsured_n_5446887.html

Bill Dawers June 10, 2014 at 10:01 am

The Deal administration has had a fine time opposing everything, but now the governor needs to work with the feds to establish some sort of plan so that we don’t leave all that Medicaid money on the table. Georgians are paying for Medicaid expansion in other states, and if Deal doesn’t like Arkansas’ plan, he can craft one of his own. The governor claims to be interested in the rural health care crisis in Georgia, and it’s time to move beyond talk.

Or we can just wait for the rural system to deteriorate to the point that we need Washington to bail us out.

Here’s the press release alluded to above from the Colorado Hospital Association regarding the decline in the first quarter of 2014 in self-pay and charity cases at hospitals in expansion states: http://www.cha.com/Documents/Press-Releases/CHA-Medicaid-Expansion-Study-June-2014.aspx

Harry June 10, 2014 at 11:10 am

Medicaid expansion is the last thing Georgia needs. Not gonna happen.

Jackster June 10, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I don’t know if it’s the last thing that Georgia needs, because there seems to be a measurable need for healthcare services, impacts to our communities because of a pay to play DCH, and no real correlation between a policy of growth (to keep taxes low and prioritize welfare lower) and subsiding wages (through entitlements) as a means of ROI.

Bottom line, Deal cannot move to talk about costs and barriers for healthcare, because the lobbies of those who profit from the current model have put most of the government in place.

Harry June 10, 2014 at 2:20 pm

You understand how giving Medicaid to several hundred thousand Georgians who claim low income is going to affect the taxpayers of this state, starting in a couple of years?

John Konop June 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm

How many use county emergency rooms at a higher cost? Problem with emergency room care is minor stuff cost way more…..or minor stuff untreated can become major bills quick….The write off rate at county hospitals is huge! who do you think pays for it?

Harry June 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm

My take is, the current status quo including the bed tax is a far lower net cost to the taxpayer than having to pick up probably up to a billion of additional Medicaid cost.

John Konop June 10, 2014 at 3:26 pm

I have no idea…I think we should look at the write off amount at county hospitals vs. Medicaid expansion. I have not seen any numbers….I am old school show me the math….

Harry June 10, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Both sides need to show the math.

John Konop June 10, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Agree

Chris Huttman June 10, 2014 at 3:02 pm

If the Deal campaign thinks the Arkansas plan is too expensive then why not just do plain vanilla Medicaid expansion.

The bottom line is the federal government will be paying for 90% of Medicaid expansion whether Georgia expands or not – the law will never get repealed.

Nathan Deal might as well write a giant check to the taxpayers of New York, California, Arizona etc each year that says from Georgia – thanks for letting us pay for your Medicaid.

Harry June 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Uh, no. After a couple of years Georgia picks up 100% of the tab as I understand it. Meantime the feds are playing and paying with smoke and mirrors.

smvaughn June 10, 2014 at 3:58 pm

It bottoms out at 90%. The percent the feds pick up is as follows:

2014-2016 – 100%
2017 – 95%
2018 – 94%
2019 – 93%
2020 and beyond – 90%

Harry June 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Sounds like highway money. Do you have a link?

smvaughn June 10, 2014 at 6:24 pm
Harry June 10, 2014 at 7:10 pm

So how do they manage to pay this additional line item from the federal budget? This has to be hundreds of billions per year.

Jackster June 10, 2014 at 7:24 pm

There won’t be any Medicare, the VA will eventually not need all of their funds, and the middle class will pay higher taxes.

Jackster June 10, 2014 at 7:27 pm

He’s banking on growth from those states in the form of folks moving to Georgia, since we have better looking women and whiskey.

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