Governor Medicaid decision could hurt Ga. hospitals

Thursday, Aug 30, 2012 7:36 AM
Last updated Thursday, July 11, 2013 1:59 PM
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ATLANTA -- Gov. Nathan Deal’s decision to reject the expansion of Medicaid prescribed by the Affordable Care Act would leave thousands of the poorest Georgians uninsured and threaten the bottom lines of hospitals that were counting on new income from the changest, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Deal’s spokesman noted Wednesday that the governor might agree to expand Medicaid if the federal government gave Georgia a “block grant” of money and the freedom to tailor the program as it saw fit — none of which is currently in the health care law. Without that flexibility, Deal believes the state could not afford the expansion.

“The fix for an unsustainable program is not to make it even more unsustainable,” said the spokesman, Brian Robinson.

Word of Deal’s decision set off a wave of anxiety among hospital officials and patient advocates in the state, with one saying that the governor is “certainly putting hospitals at risk,” and another calling the decision a mistake.

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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 08/30/12 - 07:57 am

I'm sorry, but I cannot accept the argument that failure to expand government benefits will hurt hospitals.

Sure, many of those hospital administrators and those government bureaucrats were licking their chops at the prospect of getting more taxpayer money. But if they don't get my tax money, the only thing that is getting hurt are those administrators’ and bureaucrats’ feelings.

dichotomy 08/30/12 - 09:05 am
And where did the hospitals

And where did the hospitals think all of this money was going to come from? The federal government was not going to provide it because they are already broke. They wanted the states to raise state taxes on working people to pay for it but we are already tapped out. We have got to quit creating these huge welfare programs when there is no money to pay for them. The "numbers" for the planned Medicaid expansion never worked to begin with. It was a stupid plan that attempted to force state taxpayers to pick up the "full service" medical bills for the lame and lazy. What needs to happen is Medicaid reduction. We need to be deducting medical insurance premiums from welfare checks. Yes, I know the hospitals were salivating at the prospects of having another government program to send their $25 aspirin and $125 band aid bills to but they are going to have to find another group of suckers.

Hospital billing has become a stupid game. If you have insurance or Medicare, have you ever looked at your bills? A typical line item looks similar to this:

Billed: $500 Negotiated Discount: $452.50 Insurance Paid: $37.50 You Owe: $10.00

If you don't have insurance or Medicare, you get billed for the full $500 and they hound you to death for it.

Maybe if hospitals billed uninsured people for the amounts they actually settle for from the insurance companies and Medicare, more uninsured people could afford to pay their bill. The government (Medicare/Medicaid), the insurance companies, and the medical industry (yes, hospitals and doctors are an industry) have made medical billing a big joke and the people who get hurt the most are the uninsured. They are the ones who get the $500 bills for the $47.50 worth of services which, of course, they don't pay. The hospitals write the $500 off as a loss against their income taxes. It's a game, full of ridiculous inflated mark ups and a lot of fraud, waste and abuse. When both sides get real then I will think things are getting serious.

constituent 08/30/12 - 03:23 pm
When the Supreme Court upheld

When the Supreme Court upheld health care reform, we all cheered. But now GOP governors like Nathan Deal are threatening to block health insurance for millions of poor families under Obamacare by literally refusing to accept money being handed to their states ny the federal government. Why? Ideology. Partisanship. Allegiance to corporate donors. And the people in poverty who get sick or die as a result? They just don't count. But politically, Republican governors don't have a leg to stand on. Honestly, they're going to tell voters that they refuse to allow the federal government to pay for health insurance for poor people in their states? And still expect to get reelected? Not if we do our jobs right.

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