Posted: 3:26 pm Monday, June 9th, 2014

Jason Carter sharpens call for a Medicaid expansion 

By Greg Bluestein

Montezuma, Ga. – Democrat Jason Carter trekked to a shuttered middle Georgia medical center Monday to highlight the state’s struggling rural hospital network and sharpen his calls for a federal cash infusion for healthcare.

As a GOP ad barrage targets Carter’s willingness to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the Atlanta state senator redoubled his support for an expansion outside of Flint River Hospital, which shut down most of its medical services last year.

Carter is trying to cast his support for the Medicaid expansion, a prospect that chills many Republicans but polls better with Democrats and independents – as a fiscal necessity. Gov. Nathan Deal, his November opponent, has rejected expansion by arguing it would be far too costly in the long run.

“It’s incredibly important for us to look at the fact that the federal government has $9 million of our tax money they keep every day,” said Carter. “There’s $30 billion in expansion funds that we’ve paid – it’s our money and Nathan Deal wants Washington to keep it. That doesn’t make sense to anyone, certainly not here.”

Montezuma’s squat hospital now offers only psychiatric services and little else. County officials said they’ve had to spend more than $800,000 extra on basic healthcare services, such as ambulance costs, to stabilize patients and transport them to nearby regional hospitals.

One official from the remote town of Ideal told Carter it could take up to three hours from a 911 call to a hospital. Another said he worried that the regional unemployment rate, which hovers around 13 percent, will stay stagnant without a hospital. And a county commissioner said he often worries what would happen if a major tragedy struck town.

“Who says there’s not going to be a natural disaster, a train derailment?” said Bob Melvin, the Macon County commissioner.

Deal in March endorsed a plan to keep more struggling healthcare facilities open by allowing them to scale back their services, though it’s too early to tell whether the plan is working. Carter, for his part, vows to foster more innovation of healthcare technology and a renewed focus on the plight of rural communities.

When pressed for specifics, though, the Democrat said that expanding Medicaid was a more immediate way to keep rural hospitals afloat.

“The discussion of the Affordable Care Act is the worst of Washington politics. What we need in Georgia is what’s best for our state,” said Carter, adding: “There’s no doubt in my mind that nobody wants Washington to keep our tax money – except Nathan Deal.”

Even if he won in November, figuring out a way to expand Medicaid is daunting. A law recently signed by Deal gives the state Legislature, firmly in GOP hands, the final say on a Medicaid expansion. Carter said one possibility involves an Arkansas-style “private option” to use federal Medicaid funds to purchase insurance for the poor, though the plan’s future remains unclear.

“You’ve seen Republican governors across the country who have found creative solutions for the problems that the state is facing,” said Carter. “We happen to have a Republican governor who is not looking for answers.”

The event came as the Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee – a bipartisan group of lawmakers and healthcare workers tasked with confronting the problem – met in Atlanta. Carter made clear the timing of his journey was not coincidental.

“You’ve seen the folks who are currently running the state wait for a crisis to take action,” said Carter. “There’s a task force that’s just meeting today on this issue. And that’s too little too late.”

76 comments
MildredFranks
MildredFranks

Democrats' need to vote in midterms' if they want to see Change. Especially, when Republicans' run false negative adds that tell lies about their opponents.  People forgot the eight years under Republican control was a total nightmare.  Fourteen years after the wars and the  Republican caused nightmares that caused the countries financial problems, which were the  years of wars, financial collapses in the banking and restate industry, we have a new  generation is clueless and gullible. Yet again giving way to the same if not more radical idiots.  People will never learn right from wrong.

LostGoat
LostGoat

the government need to spend a lot more on medicaid in this state---the chump change you get now is an insult---when jason get in office, he'll spend the money we need----just raise taxes on all these rich people to pay what it take

PSWallace
PSWallace

I wish Mr. Carter and the rest of the Democratic Party of Georgia the very best in finding ways to spend other people's monies. If demographics is destiny, I think I have seen all I need to.

td1234
td1234

The state spends $9 billion a year already for Medicaid and that number is going up due to Obamacare. This is 20% of the total expenses because the Feds pay the other 80%. 


After the three years is up then the state would have to pay 10%, or as DCH has estimated, $1 billion more per year.


The voters will pass a Constitutional Amendment in November to cap the states income tax rate at its current level and income taxes account for 60% of all revenue in Georgia. 


Where is the state going to come up with this additional money? How much are we going to pay for increased consumption tax? 


The only other way to pay this additional $1 billion per year is to cut other government spending in the state. The state's budget is basically 50% education, 30% Medicaid and 20% all other spending and the budget is currently around $22 billion. How much are you willing to take out of education to give people free insurance? 

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Governor Deal announced today that doctors and other medical personnel in the state will be required to accept a 5% cut in pay.  The pay will be given to "job creators" who create few jobs.  Further, medical personnel will be required to take on 10% additional patients, and will not be allowed to refer out any patients, regardless of patient need.  They will have to take any patient that shows up at the front desk, and will be evaluated on the results of the care, with no ability to require the patients to make any efforts on their own behalf.  With no assistants, detailed notes will be required, as well as detailed plans for the future, although the goals will move from year to year.

Starik
Starik

Just out of curiosity...who's picking up the tab for the Habersham County kid who the Sheriff's people injured?

MHSmith
MHSmith

Well and good. 

Now all Jason Carter needs to do is show the people of this state that he, with OUR help,  fund the expansion of Medicaid if need be by other means than that of the federal government funds which are at our disposal that would NOT include raising present compulsory taxes on anyone or taking one red cent out of the present state tax digest, as the lying barbaric GOP and Mr Deal claims he will in order to expand Medicaid. With OUR help, Mr. Carter as Govenor could propose an amendment to the State Constitution that will allow casino gambling into the State to solely fund our Healthcare short falls, primarily the Medicaid expansion. We did it for education, it is the least we can now do for others to have good health insurance that they can afford to buy from a private sector insurance company probably for the first time in their lives.

Take this to heart readers, Obama the Marxist and Reagan the Capitalist have more in common with each other than they do with sadly too many of the rest of us.

Before and after anything and everything else, they both are rock solid "HUMANITARIANS"!  

hu·man·i·tar·i·an [hyoo-man-i-tair-ee-uhn or, often, yoo-] 

1. having concern for or helping to improve the welfare and happiness of people.

2. of or pertaining to ethical or theological humanitarianism.

3. pertaining to the saving of human lives or to the alleviation of suffering: a humanitarian crisis.

 


AvailableName
AvailableName

I'd like to see the AJC print the Governor's answers to the questions posed by the people quoted in the piece.


Governor, just what is your grand plan to make up for the dreaded federal infusion of Medicaid money into Georgia.  (You folks do know that the Medicaid expansion money that Deal rejected slashed the money Georgia hospitals get to pay for healthcare for poor folks and that there are still poor folks out there?)  


AJC, I don't even care if you put the article with the answers behind the paywall but you need to do your job on this issue.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

Of course.  No thinking, educated candidate is going to send our federal taxes off to California and New York when they could be investing in Georgia. 

Pistol66
Pistol66

I saw Mr. Carter's new ad on tv over the weekend.  It was impressive.  But the most impressive part of the  ad was that he managed to omit the fact that he was a democrat from the entire ad!  The first question in the upcoming governor's debate should be "Mr. Carter, why are you so ashamed to be a democrat that you refuse to acknowledge it in your ads and signage?"  By the way, Mrs. Nunn should be asked the same question!  In Georgia, this is their weakness as anyone associated with that party and their president will lose a statewide race!

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

By all means, Lil' Carter, keep expressing your love for Obozocare and how we really need to give handouts to hundreds of thousands of additional Georgians.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

I agree with Mr. Carter!  I am tired of our "leaders" being so shortsighted, they think long term planning means thinking where they will have dinner tonight!  ALL human beings deserve health care!


Stupid, stupid!  Cut off our noses to further your "careers."  Shame!

NOlongerRepublican
NOlongerRepublican

Thank you Jason Carter! Please shout it from the mountain tops LOUD AND CLEAR!!!!  Every single day we don't accept the federal money we lose jobs, we lose health care for or sick and elderly, basically we lose and other states get it all because of Nathan Deal and the Republicans who don't give a rip about the everyday Georgian! Other states are seeing much better rates with the uninsured taking up less o ER hospital resources and over time we will see those states have better wellness rates overall because people can get care. It amazes me that people in GA vote Republican because they perceive that it is the party that follows "christian" values when nothing could be further from the truth.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

"Even if he won in November, figuring out a way to expand Medicaid is daunting. A law recently signed by Deal gives the state Legislature, firmly in GOP hands, the final say on a Medicaid expansion."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Good for Jason Carter for supporting Medicaid Expansion as part of the ACA in Georgia.  People will more than likely die because of this political decision not to expand Medicaid in Georgia. The Republican decision has been an immoral position, in my opinion. Vote these Republican members of Georgia's General Assembly out of office, and expand Medicaid in Georgia.  Show the nation how it can be done.  Do what is morally and ethically right.

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

Wow - there are actually some islands of common sense here. OK, so Georgia taxpayers have left PILES of tax money on the table that will be used in other states, now that Governor Deal has walked away from it. Georgia taxpayers will still wind up paying for Medicaid patients, one way or another, not to mention increased hospital care costs when they need it.

CuriousPrime
CuriousPrime

I just received notice that I now get US socialized medicine.  Now I can be like a bunch of social conservatives who say they hate Obamacare and no suffer the consequences. I have Medicare.

dreluv
dreluv

The_ centrist stop lying to us about budget cuts, ask yourself who going to pay for Nathan Deal ethic violation lawsuit..Georgia tax payer have to pay millions for Nathan Deal ethic violation lawsuit.

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

No amount of coverage by this blog in favor of Carter's and the Democratic Party line is going to change the political dynamics that they are unpopular with a majority of the Georgia electorate.  Expanding Medicaid will require priority cuts somewhere else.  Despite the AJC and other Democrats' theory of free lunch spending, the majority of Georgia voters know the state budget must be balanced and vote accordingly.

honested
honested

@td1234 

tiny dog,

You make the case why the ridiculous 'tax cap' should fail and by a big margin.

It is time for a truly progressive income tax in Georgia that gathers back the largest amount of revenue from those who derive the greatest wealth from a stable government.

 

MHSmith
MHSmith

@td1234 

Dead wrong!

Casino gambling tax revenues could cover the $1 billion a year cost, if not entirely darn near it and without touching a single one of your cited budget items. By the way, education basically gets more than 50%, okay? 



2012 Commercial Casino Tax Revenue

  1. Colorado $104.26 million 
  2. Delaware $217.44 million
  3. Florida $161.76 million 
  4. Illinois $574.34 million 
  5. Indiana $806.56 million 
  6. Iowa $334.43 million 
  7. Kansas $92.17 million
  8.  Louisiana $579.45 million 
  9. Maine $43.11 million 
  10. Maryland $218.20 million 
  11. Michigan $319.75 million 
  12. Mississippi $272.73 million 
  13. Missouri $471.41 million 
  14. Nevada $868.60 million 
  15. New Jersey $254.84 million 
  16. New Mexico $62.79 million 
  17. New York $822.67 million 
  18. Ohio $138.18 million 
  19. Oklahoma $20.38 million
  20. Pennsylvania $1.487 billion 
  21. Rhode Island $328.98 million (FY 2012) 
  22. South Dakota $16.62 million 
  23. West Virginia $402.50 million

TOTAL $8.60 billion

http://www.americangaming.org/industry-resources/research/fact-sheets/tax-payments-commercial-casinos

Now how far are you willing to lie in order to deny people something near decent private sector healthcare insurance?

Is your hate for Obama and mankind so bitter you will stop at nothing to satisfy your sheared conscience that cannot see the human suffering and death involved in all of this that we can put an end to?

I can tell you so-called conservatives who claim and evoke the name of Ronald Reagan in god like fashion that you have not the least shred of that man's humanitarianism in your being if you deny 600,000 people to be treated and cared for like human beings just to win a damn election and I hope to GOD! the people of Georgia and this nation see visions of dead bodies lying around as they seen and heard of after Katrina hit NOLA. The American people are not barbarians and we will not tolerate barbarism. 

I refuse to sell my soul and the bodies of others for thirty pieces of political pottage just to beat President Barrack Obama. 

Oh and by the way, Obama has more humanitarianism in his little Marxist pinky finger than most of the so-called conservatives on these AJC blogs have in the hearts.   


Lynn43
Lynn43

@Wascatlady Oh, Wascatlady.  I had to read your comments twice, but I get it.  How about we apply this to every profession!


Kamchak
Kamchak

@MHSmith 

... with sadly...

I am so saddy saddy sad sad sad that you haz sadz.

AvailableName
AvailableName

I don't think I was actually clear above.  Deal's rejection of Medicaid expansion didn't just result in no new dollars coming to the state for healthcare.  Deal's wisdom means Georgia gets fewer dollars this year and going forward than it has in the past - probably dumb but Congress never figured John Roberts would find mandatory expansion to be unconstitutional and the then, double dumb, a governor, named Deal, would be dumb enough to not opt in.  So, the money that was being paid for places like Grady and the rural hospitals that are closing?  Gone.  


Again, Nathan, you got us into this, tell us your plan to get us out oh wise one.

AvailableName
AvailableName

@Ralph-43 While I'm not anti-ACA, the idea that our tax dollars are going "off to California or New York" is a partially false argument.  Yes, Georgians will pay taxes from which they won't reap any benefit; but, Georgia's rejection of the ACA doesn't mean the money that would have come here gets sprinkled over the more enlightened states.  It just doesn't get spent and thus, we don't borrow quite as much.

honested
honested

@Pistol66 

We knew you wouldn't vote for him so we are not counting on you support.

Next.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

@Pistol66  Why is that important?  I vote for the man/woman and their ideas. 

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

I know that facts play no part in your world, but we send $9 million per day to the feds to pay for Medicaid expansion in other states.

I wonder why you're so anxious to help pay for health care for WalMart workers in Kentucky, plus higher insurance costs here to cover care for those folks who are left behind here?

Not only is it immoral - some Georgians will die this year 'cause they don't get medical care - but it's stupid.  I'm tired of paying higher expenses and taxes because of the stupidity of the Obama haters.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@OldEngineer We are actually going to be paying TWICE--once with the money that flows out to other states, and THEN when we have to pay (through tax or by our increasing insurance payments that have to make up the balance for the hospitals.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@OldEngineer So lobby your representatives to fix Obozocare so our money is returned to us.


Yeah, didn't think so.

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

@CuriousPrime  Heck, if we want to go there, real anti-socialists would reject Social Security, VA benefits, police and fire protection, public schools............ 

td1234
td1234

@dreluv You do understand what the difference is between a couple million (that has not been tied to Deal) and a couple billion (per year) out of someones budget? 

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@The_Centrist Someone mentions dotty old fools, and viola! up pops a repititive comment from da centrist.

td1234
td1234

@DS gbpi is a think progress organization and makes some incredible assumptions to get to their $35 million. 


Kaiser is left leaning but at least they are more honest. Look at the link on page 42 for the cost to GA. $3.1 billion over the 7 year period. 


http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/8384.pdf


Georgia's own agency DCH has said it will cost almost a billion per year. This is on top of the $100 million GA is already having to spend each year with Medicaid expenses under Obamacare. 

td1234
td1234

@honested @td1234 Bedwetting Ed. It is time to wake up my friend. 


Georgia will pass the tax cap. 


Georgia will still be controlled by Republicans after November. 


Georgia will not expand Medicaid. 


Anything other than these simple truths are nothing more than delusional dreams. 

Derwin0
Derwin0

@MHSmith Casino gambling is banned by the Ga Constitution.  It would take 2/3'rd of the General Assembly and 50%+1 in a Statewide vote to change that.

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

@AvailableName - Good to point out such bogus statements.  As you correctly point out, It is actually just less public debt - no additional taxes involved, and then It becomes a multi-billion dollar unfunded liability to state taxpayers after 3 years.  Something near and dear to hunks of the electorate constituency would have to be cut somewhere else for this additional and overlapping safety net item.  And liberals would not like where those would be.

But it's not going to happen as even this blog points out the Republican legislature is in charge of that decision regardless how a Governor Carter might feel.

EdUktr
EdUktr

@Kamchak @Pistol66


That's what Michelle sends ONLY to know supporters, sport!

But nice try. The rest of us get her regular mailers and know better.

Sport.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Wascatlady 


And, we will also pay with lives lost, which could have been saved, had Medicaid been expanded in Georgia.

MoFaux
MoFaux

@Derwin0 @MHSmith No problem.  Put it up for referendum and let's see if anyone in Congress wants to keep their job by voting with the actual voters.  I assure you that support for casinos would far surpass 51%, if voters understand just how much revenue we would be getting.  If we had a real leader, this could happen easily.  Unfortunately, we lack any visionary leadership.  Having said that, I have no idea what Carter's opinion is on this topic.  It could be one of those untouchable items that only a 2nd-term governor could put on the table.

honested
honested

@The_Centrist @AvailableName 

Simple, cut ALL MIC SPENDING IN HALF.

No need for most of it and it represents the REAL monster of expenditures.

Then we can feel better about spending less than half the 'taxpayer portion' of the new stadia and do something VALUABLE to our CITIZENS.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@EdUktr 

 That's what Michelle sends ONLY to know supporters...

Word salad much?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@MaryElizabethSings I'm not sure too many of the "deciders" CARE that lives of "those people" will be lost.  Does not seem to slow down our involvement in wars, for example. 

Derwin0
Derwin0

@MoFaux @Derwin0 @MHSmith The Congressmen (and Governor for that matter) have no say in the passing of a Constitutional amendment.  That belongs to the General Assembly & the people.

EdUktr
EdUktr

@Kamchak @EdUktr


... known supporters ...

MoFaux
MoFaux

@Derwin0 Typo, I meant General Assembly.  I'm sure you knew that.  But, you are wrong to think they have no influence at all.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@EdUktr 

... known supporters ...

First day of that brand new ESL class?

Just askin'.