Posted: 12:19 pm Friday, February 14th, 2014
By Greg Bluestein
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.
About the Author
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He joined the newspaper in June 2012 after spending seven years with the Atlanta bureau of The Associated Press. He also contributes to the AJC's Political Insider blog. Bluestein has traveled to Haiti with President Jimmy Carter, journeyed to Panama with Gov. Nathan Deal and tracked down a suspected Ponzi schemer in suburban Kansas. He spent weeks in Louisiana covering the Gulf Oil Spill, became an unwitting expert on capital punishment after witnessing almost a dozen executions in Georgia's death chamber and was part of award-winning teams that descended upon the biggest breaking news events in the Southeast. Bluestein has covered a range of beats, including environment, legal affairs and economic development. He's now the AJC's political writer, charged with covering the intricacies of Georgia's lively government on the newspaper's front pages and in the Political Insider blog. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two daughters.