ON THE RECORD

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, during a Jan. 29 press conference on ethics reform: “We have many challenges as a state and we will confront those challenges during this legislative session.
It is vital that we as public servants always strive to earn and hold the trust of the public.”
“We also earn and hold the public trust though by working tirelessly on the issues that matter to Georgians. Job creation, quality education for our young people and safe communities. That is what this House will continue to do.”

Gov. Nathan Deal, from his Jan. 16 Eggs and Issues breakfast address: For the past three years, hospitals have been contributing their part to help generate funds to pay for medical costs of the Medicaid program. Every dollar they have given has essentially resulted in two additional dollars from the federal government that in part can be used to increase Medicaid payments to the hospitals. But the time has come to determine whether they will continue their contribution through the provider fee. I have been informed that 10 to 14 hospitals will be faced with possible closure if the provider fee does not continue.
I propose giving the Department of Community Health board authority over the hospital provider fee, with the stipulation that reauthorization be required every four years by legislation. They have experience in this area, having had authority over a similar fee for the nursing home industry since around 2004. Of course, these fees are not new. In fact, we are one of 47 states that have either a nursing home or hospital provider fee — or both. It makes sense to me that, in Georgia, given the similarity of these two fees, we should house the authority and management of both of them under one roof for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Gov. Deal, during an AJC interview on the Georgia Dome replacement plan last month: “I’ve tried my best as you might have already gathered to relieve the members of the General Assembly from difficult decisions that they have to make because I understand the political consequences of it. Because sometimes issues that are important to the state are not always easy to reconcile with their constituents back home. The more that you ask them to make these hard choices, the more difficult it becomes to achieve what you really have in mind. This is one that has significance for the entire state of Georgia.”

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