A state that forces hospital closings by refusing Medicare expansion while spending a billion dollars a year on locking up too many prisoners has its priorities wrong.
Tom Baxter wrote for SaportaReport yesterday, Ominous signs for rural Georgia as hospitals shut their doors,
Lewis forecast at the beginning of the year that five to six rural hospitals might be forced to close in 2013, and already there have been two. Calhoun Memorial Hospital in Arlington closed in February, and Stewart-Webster Hospital in Richland shut its doors last week.
That's only a foretaste, Lewis says, of what's going to happen when the Affordable Care Act next year eliminates the subsidies which have been key to the survival of many of these hospitals, and imposes new standards — for instances, penalizing hospitals for readmitting patients in less than 30 days — which will directly impact their bottom line.
“We will probably get hurt worse than any state in the nation,” Lewis said last week. “It's not like we will be friendly faces to the feds, and they're going to come in and do major damage to us. ” He's certainly not an enthusiastic fan of Obamacare, but thinks the state has no choice but to accept the Medicaid expansion which was intended as compensation for what the new law takes away.
“With Obamacare coming down the pike, if we don't get some kind of relief in (Medicaid) expansion, we will face certain death,” Lewis said last week.
Ah, so the problem isn't ObamaCare: it's Gov. Deal's refusal to accept Medicaid expansion! The AJC warned us about that back in August:
Carrie Teegardin wrote for the AJC 30 August 2012, Deal’s Medicaid decision could put hospitals at risk,
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 changes.
Meanwhile, Georgia spends a billion dollars a year locking people up, and doesn't even do that well. How about stop locking up so many people so we can spend some of that money on education and health care? And stop spiting Washington by punishing rural people: get on with accepting Medicare expansion.