Dems push Medicaid expansion for left-behind rural Georgia children
By John Bacon
A few years ago, when we were writing about the need to expand Medicaid, people wanted to know why Georgia should be singled out for the pain of the program, why it was the only state with any money and, most important, why the federal government would take away money that was desperately needed if there were so many children in need.
Now, we’re left with the same questions and the state is poised to add the very children it would have been left with but for the federal government decision.
Now, even though the state is going to take away a little more money while making a little less money, Democrats are saying this is better than nothing.
“One of the primary reasons I voted for Medicaid expansion in the first place was that we have neglected this group of people, the children, for decades in our state,” said State Rep. Ed Setzler, D-Macon, who sponsored the bill in the Georgia General Assembly. “We’ve heard the same thing from every pediatrician who has sent their children to our state hospital. They are the ones who were left behind as a result of our state’s budget cuts and other cuts in spending on programs like Medicaid that benefit children and families.”
In 2013, more than $1.2 billion will be paid by the state, with $1 billion going to hospitals, $500 million to nursing homes, $300 million to home and community based services, and $150 million for Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Healthcare to operate the state’s behavioral healthcare programs, including Georgia Guideline in Georgia and the Center for Juvenile Delinquency Services in Jackson County.
“We’re not just giving less,” said Halleene Hargro, a children’s advocate with the state Department of Human Services. “We’re giving less and more for hospitals in Savannah, Savannah Medical Center and hospitals around Savannah that are understaff