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Greg Bluestein

A brewing fight in Georgia governor’s race over Medicaid expansion

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The fight over a House GOP plan that would strip the executive branch of its power to expand Medicaid in Georgia is fast becoming a dividing line in the governor’s race.

We told you yesterday that state Sen. Jason Carter, the Democrat challenging Gov. Nathan Deal, attacked the governor for “passing the buck” by throwing his support behind the legislation. Now Deal’s camp is firing back.

Deal wouldn’t take questions on the matter at a press conference Friday focused on the storm cleanup, but his spokeswoman Jen Talaber issued a retort on his behalf:

“So Senator Carter believes cutting a backroom deal with the Obama administration is preferable to giving the people’s representatives, himself included, a say in how hundreds of millions of their taxpayer dollars are spent?”

H.B. 990 is sponsored by a gaggle of senior GOP leaders and would require legislative approval to expand Medicaid rolls by 600,000. The feds would finance all of the health care costs for the first three years and cover 90 percent of the costs thereafter. Deal has repeatedly said he doesn’t trust the feds to keep up their end of the bargain, but other governors have cut deals with the White House.

With the session quickly winding down, the legislation gives both parties a chance to play to their bases and revive yet another argument over President Obama’s healthcare overhaul. Expect them to make the most of it.

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