Ad Spot

Troup County, Southern states and Medicaid

By Jack Bernard

Bernard is a retired corporate executive.

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” – Proverbs 19:17

“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” – 1 John 3:17.

Georgia currently has a 15.7% uninsured rate for those under 65. Troup County’s rate is almost as high, 14.3%. (https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/muscogeecountygeorgia,GA/HEA775218).The national rate is only 8.5% (https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2019/demo/p60-267.html). 

 A recent column on Southern States and Medicaid expansion in Modern Healthcare magazine, an industry standard bearer, was highly informative regarding coverage: 

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/medicaid/after-victories-other-states-medicaid-expansion-revisited-mississippi

As it pointed out, 8 of the 12 states which have yet to expand Medicaid to cover more of the poor are in the South. They are Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida (note: Only Florida and Mississippi provide for a referendum on the issue, which will almost certainly pass with a majority in every one of these states). 

I find it incredibly hypocritical that the Legislatures and Governors in each of these states have not already expanded Medicaid. After all, the South and Southwest are the most religious areas of the nation (https://news.gallup.com/poll/232223/religious-regions.aspx).  

Of the 50 states, here’s how the above states rank in religiosity: Georgia-8; Alabama-1, Mississippi-2; Tennessee-3; South Carolina-6; North Carolina-10; Texas-11; and Florida-22. (https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/most-religious-states). So, 7 of the 8 states choosing not to expand Medicaid to cover needy low-income people are among the 11 most religious states. 

So, what are the numbers of insured here and where does Georgia stand versus other states? Let’s start with some history. Georgia’s rate of uninsured was at 19% prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) over a decade ago (https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/total-population). It did fall substantially, as did the uninsured rate in every state. However, the 38 states which chose to expand Medicaid coverage dropped much more than those that did not, including Georgia.  

Currently, almost 16% of Georgians remain without insurance, whereas the rate for the nation is less than 9%. Of the 50 states, only Texas has a higher proportion of uninsured residents. Georgia is the 8th most religious state and Texas the 11th

These 1.4 million white, black and brown Georgians reside all over our state, in rural, suburban and urban areas. Many are the working poor, either self-employed or working in small businesses which do not provide coverage. 

Instead of simply expanding Medicaid (with 90% paid for by the Federal government) to cover the maximum number allowed under Federal law, Governor Kemp has unwisely chosen to submit a very limited “Medicaid Waiver” to CMS/DHHS (for more, see https://healthyfuturega.org/ghf_resource/outnumbered/). This waiver, currently being considered by CMS, would permit the state to expand the Medicaid program on a highly fragmented basis, covering much less of the uninsured than under a simple expansion.  

During the state comment period (11-4-19 to 12-3-20), 88% of the comments received were negative whereas during the federal comment period (1-8-20 to 2-7-20), 92% of the comments were negative. Commenters wondered why our Governor ignored the will of his constituents and chose not to cover Georgians to the maximum degree possible under the ACA. 

Although I’m not a religious person myself, I believe in following many of the more compassionate teachings contained in the bible. Obviously, our Governor and Legislature… and the Legislatures and Governors in all of these 8 states… must not.

News

2020-2021 LaGrange Youth Council inducted

News

LaGrange changes driveway regulations to limit liability

News

Troup County Republican Party opens new location

News

LEADING THE WAY: Community activist hosts event at Tall Pines to discuss community resources

News

LaGrange, GMA honors Trammell for supporting home rule

Community

Evans named Probation Officer of the Year

Community

DOWN TO THE WIRE: Local leaders grow more concerned about Census response numbers

News

LaGrange pays $600k in hazard pay to employees

News

Fire departments urge precaution as temps drop

News

Police look for woman accused of robbing and assaulting ex

News

Two homes chosen for annual Paint the Town DASH event

News

Baby taken in stolen vehicle returned safely to mother

News

COACH OF THE YEAR: Granger boys soccer coach honored

News

Doctors urge flu shots, following COVID guidelines as flu season approaches

News

West Point native helps design Atlanta mural

Crime

LaGrange police charge man with five car break-ins

Features

Hills and Dales commemorates 150th birthday of Fuller Callaway Sr.

News

TCSS COVID-19 update: Six students with positive cases, 222 students quarantined

News

Family of Natalie Jones plans ride to bring awareness to her disappearance

News

County employee retires after 34 years as a real property appraiser

News

TCSS approves making two upcoming Mondays virtual days for all students

News

Sally’s impact: TCSS closes, late-night power outage in Hogansville

News

County receives $20k from Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging

News

Airforce Heating and Air builds from scratch