Having returned from a short trip to the south, including a visit to Savannah, Georgia, I have to thank these southerners for their hospitality. We had a nice time in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. So, thanks. But today I saw a news article that causes me to thank Georgia politicians even more and tell the people of Georgia that I am sorry.
It seems as though Georgia’s legislature has decided to pass two laws regarding access to health care in the state. While I thank them for one of these laws, I am not sure about the second one.
First, a law which refuses to accept billions of federal dollars to fund Medicaid for Georgia’s poor, especially the working poor. While the feds are giving states 100% of the costs of Medicaid this year and 90 % in the future, the politicians of Georgia have generously decided not to accept that windfall. And I thank them. Why ?
Well, since the people of Georgia are paying taxes into the Medicare/Medicaid system they are helping support people in other states, like New York, and getting nothing in return. This means that over the long haul more money will be available for participating states, at the expense of Georgia’s citizens. Thank you, once again. Very generous of you.
A second law is a bit more curious. Georgia, after all, prides itself on embracing those freedoms we all hold so dear. Free press. Freedom of religion. Free speech. Freedom of association. Which makes the next law a bit curious. This law prevents Georgia citizens from helping other Georgia citizens. It prevents them from helping others enroll in the ACA.
In other words, if a Georgia citizen FREELY desires to enroll in the ACA it is illegal for others to assist him or her.It is illegal for others to try to make that enrollment process easier. To give them needed assistance. It is the ultimate “anti-Samaritan” law. Seems kind of odd in a state where the word “freedom” is thrown around like a frisbee on a college campus. And belief in god is spouted even more often. But, so be it.
What are the ramifications of these laws ? Well, for one, the people of Georgia will miss out on billions of federal dollars in aid. The estimated 70,000 plus jobs based on the increase in health care availability (most in the private sector ) will not be created. Those Georgians without health insurance will continue to either get sick and not go to school or work, hurting the economy, or seek treatment at Emergency Rooms in hospitals. The most expensive treatment. Costing Georgia’s citizens even more money with increased health insurance premiums.
And , quite likely, the better health care professionals will seek employment in states with a more supportive attitude towards the medical needs of people.
All of this because a handful of elected officials hate Mr Obama. There is an old saying which applies: Cutting off your nose to spite your face.
So, thank you Georgia for your hospitality and for helping pay for my state’s Medicaid coverage. And, I am sorry Georgians. Sorry that you have to live in a state run by people with such hatred towards Mr Obama that they will allow you and your children to suffer. It is quite a dichotomy. Such nice folks. Such nasty politicians.