Governor, Troup residents need health insurance

Published 5:10 pm Saturday, January 4, 2020

By Jack Bernard
Bernard is a retired corporate executive.

Current census data shows that Georgia’s rate of uninsured is 13.4%, much higher than the national average of 8.7%. There are 1,375,000 uninsured Georgians.

Certainly, coverage is important to Troup County, where the 2015 rate of uninsured under 65 was 15% (RWJ Foundation, 2018 report, County Rankings). As a comparison, the under 65 uninsured rate is only 6% for top performing decile of counties in the U.S.

Per the Urban Institute, if all states expanded Medicaid: “Between 4.3 and 4.7 million fewer people would be uninsured, a reduction of between 24 and 26 percent.” Still, our Congressman (Rep. Ferguson) voted for repealing Obamacare (HR 1628) with no true alternative. And, now Trump is opposing it in court and hoping for the courts to declare it unconstitutional.

Medicaid is 90% federally funded, but some red states still say they can’t afford it. If McConnell and Trump supported the Feds picking up the remaining 10%, that particular Medicaid bill would pass with little opposition from either party. But they do not want coverage expanded. And, they do not care about pre-existing conditions being covered.

They have made that opposition clear even before this latest Trump court maneuver; the GOP has attempted repeal of the ACA dozens of times, with no replacement plan. If not for McCain, the GOP already would have repealed it, along with the requirement to cover pre-existing conditions.

However, Georgians have realized the game that has been run on them regarding the now popular Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare). A Georgia Planning and Budgeting Institute poll indicates: “broad support for generating additional state revenue to pay for new investments in things like education and health services.” When asked: “Do you support or oppose leveraging federal money to help more uninsured Georgians afford health care?”, only 23% were opposed.

But, surprisingly, Kemp decided to drive the state government bus in the wrong direction down a one-way street. As conceived (or more appropriately, ill-conceived) by Kemp, the waiver is no longer a positive first step and would only cover an additional 50,000 Georgians. And, instead of 90% picked up by the Feds under a full expansion, the Feds would only pick up 60% of the cost. Kemp has put ideology above fiscal prudence.

Troup residents, please keep these facts in mind when you evaluate our new governor, as well as your state and federal representatives. Push them to go beyond the waiver and provide healthcare to as many Georgians as possible.