Sunday, December 8, 2013

Medicaid and Rural Georgia: A Political Issue in 2014? You Better Believe It!

It's a program geared toward Rural White, Black, Elderly, and Young Residents who are heavily dependent on the program

With the latest population trends, Medicaid is becoming increasingly important to rural areas, in Georgia. Medicaid is the program that pays for medical services for those too poor to afford their own coverage, and it's funded by a combination of federal and state dollars.

In rural communities, Medicaid has become the only insurer for many people, particularly children, whose parents work at low-wage jobs with no health care coverage. It provides health care services and access to health care for a large number of rural Georgians who probably wouldn't have access to those services otherwise, whose health would suffer because of that. So, from a human perspective, it provides necessary services and access that these populations need.

So my question is why is Governor Nathan Deal and State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens so opposed to expanding medicaid here in the Peach State.  Sadly these men rather put politics and their party ahead of Georgians those who desperately need some type of coverage.

Medicaid also is an economic engine in rural areas like Wheeler, Echols, Baker, Jenkins Counties, etc and literally keeping some hospitals and clinics open.

Those hospitals and clinics, the backbone of the rural healthcare infrastructure, who are depended so much on Medicaid and Medicare payments that they probably couldn't keep their doors open otherwise. We've already hospitals close in Charlton, Stewart, Habersham and Calhoun County.

Many look at Medicaid as the classic "welfare" program, which it is, but in my view, that isn't the case. It really does provide a necessary benefit and necessary services to working people, what we sometimes refer to as the working poor. 

Those who are dependent on medicaid are: Children, Low-income disabled, Low-income elderly, Low-Income families and Pregnant women.

Medicaid is a critical piece of the rural health care system and the refusal of the governor to expand medicaid and the Insurance Commissioner opposition to the expansion of medicaid will be a campaign issue come 2014.

With Deal facing two GOP challengers and if he's able to escape the primary will face State Senator Jason Carter, a centrist democrat and the grandson of former president Jimmy Carter. 

The one down ballot race that's sure to receive plenty of attention will be Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, but so far no democrat have announced nor shown any interest in taking on the anti-health incumbent. 

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