Deal: No Medicaid expansion for Georgia

TAMPA — Firming up his earlier stance, Gov. Nathan Deal said Tuesday he “would not have any intention” of expanding Georgia’s Medicaid rolls with federal money from Obamacare.

The expansion to cover anyone who earns one-third more than the federal poverty level, which the law made virtually mandatory by threatening to withhold current Medicaid funds from states that did not cooperate, became optional thanks to a Supreme Court ruling this summer that said Congress had overstepped its bounds in making such a coercive threat. Immediately after the court issued its ruling, Deal said he would wait until November to decide about the expansion, under which the feds would foot 100 percent of the cost of expansion from 2014 to 2016 and less in the years after that.

Tuesday morning in Tampa, during an interview with the AJC, 11 Alive and Politico, he indicated the expansion is off the table:

No, I do not have any intentions of expanding Medicaid. I think that is something our state cannot afford. And even though the federal government promises to pay 100 percent for the first three years and 90 percent thereafter, I think it is probably unrealistic to expect that promise to be fulfilled in the long term, simply because of the financial status that the federal government is in. I am told that that expansion for the federal government will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 billion a year. I quite honestly don’t think Congress can find an extra $100 billion a year.

Asked whether this was a change of heart, he replied:

I think for the time being, assuming that things are as they currently are, I would not have any intention of advocating expanding our Medicaid rolls. The reason for saying wait until November is to see whether or not there are going to be legislative changes at the federal level. And we do have a time frame for making the decision that I think, especially on the exchanges, we have just a few days after the election in order to make a final determination on that.

What kind of changes might prompt a reconsideration? “I can’t think of any right now that would induce me to say that we’re going expand our Medicaid population up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level,” he said, adding that the most recent cost estimate puts the state’s portion of the cost at $4.5 billion over a 10-year period.

“We obviously do not have that kind of money,” he said.

One way the state might be able to change its coverage provisions would be if Washington were to change Medicaid into a program where it sends a chunk of money to Georgia and lets the state decide how best to use it. This “block grant” approach was used in the 1990s welfare reform to good effect, and GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan has proposed just such a change for Medicaid.

Deal sounded very supportive of doing so:

I think there are a lot of things in terms of reimbursement rates, in terms of coverage, if a block grant were given to our state, that we could tailor the program to what we think is most appropriate. As you know, it is pretty much a one-size-fits-all [program]. We [in Georgia] are in one of the more modest Medicaid programs in the country. Those states that have seen fit to expand their Medicaid populations, quite honestly I don’t understand how they’re affording it in this downturned economy.

So, what we would have in mind is it would give us the opportunity to design the program as we think is appropriate. We would be trying to find as much efficiency as possible, and perhaps to provide coverage for areas that we currently know are very expensive to us. The aged, blind and disabled category of course is the largest expense category of our Medicaid population, and we think we might be able to come up with some innovative ways to serve that population better and at the same time save money.

Deal was set to return to Georgia this afternoon.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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258 comments Add your comment

ByteMe

August 28th, 2012
1:01 pm

We would be trying to find as much efficiency as possible, and perhaps to provide coverage for areas that we currently know are very expensive to us. The aged, blind and disabled category of course is the largest expense category of our Medicaid population, and we think we might be able to come up with some innovative ways to serve that population better and at the same time save money.

Oh, don’t keep us in suspense and don’t tell us you haven’t looked at the problem and come up with solutions already, Gov. Deal. This reminds me of Romney’s “I can do better, but I won’t tell you how” messaging. It works with the goobers, but the rest of us want specifics from you instead of platitudes.

It’s like I’m talking to an empty blog or something :lol:

Jefferson

August 28th, 2012
1:02 pm

Bad decision, again.

southpaw

August 28th, 2012
1:02 pm

Start a program, then decrease the funding for it. Easing into yet another “unfunded mandate.” It reminds me just a bit of Bill Clinton’s plans for putting 100,000 more police on the streets. Nobody was supposed to notice that the salaries of the additional police officers would become the problem of local governments.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 28th, 2012
1:09 pm

Georgia, perpetually bringing up the rear.

Jeffrey

August 28th, 2012
1:09 pm

Mitt the tea party conservative would take the money and expand the roles just like he did in ma

Ray

August 28th, 2012
1:10 pm

We have the money to find tax breaks for private jet owners. They don’t pay sales tax on parts, and they can pretty much land at any Georgia general aviation airport for free.

Saving lives doesn’t have a priority in this state, any more. The poor are invisible, or worse, considered “takers” and “losers”, and not worthy of our love, any more.

The Governor has decided to not take federal money, because he has deemed in his opinion it will not be able to continue its promise to provide 90 percent funding in the years to come. So let’s just let people die now. This is crazy thinking, and immoral.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 28th, 2012
1:11 pm

This reminds me of Romney’s “I can do better, but I won’t tell you how” messaging. It works with the goobers, but the rest of us want specifics from you instead of platitudes.

The Goobers!

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 28th, 2012
1:12 pm

Jesus would just let those poor people suffer too, wouldn’t he?

liberal hack

August 28th, 2012
1:15 pm

I expect Georgia to be fiscally sound in the coming years due to this brave decision from our governor. And the states who have decided to expand Medicaid roles will be even more bad shape just like California…..

liberal hack

August 28th, 2012
1:17 pm

We just don’t have the money within our governmental structure to feed, clothe, give shelter to, and insure every poor person. Raising taxes isn’t helping.

Welfare and Medicaid, the new slavery…..
the Federal gov’t, the new slave master….

fed up

August 28th, 2012
1:20 pm

Maybe Georgia should keep the Medicaid funding for only the citizens and not every Immigrant/refugee that comes here. That would really help the elderly that need it. Why should everyone be entitled to something that a Georgia taxpayer is not?

liberal hack

August 28th, 2012
1:22 pm

no Finn, Jesus would expect his church to feed the poor….not build larger sanctuaries…

Bob Loblaw

August 28th, 2012
1:23 pm

This Governor understands Medicaid. When he was in Congress a huge Medicaid reform bill went through the subcommittee he chaired. Obviously, he’s had his folks do the math and we ain’t got the money. It’s too bad, because we’re still going to have a lot of uninsured, working poor out there. But with Medicaid in the hole $300 million already, how can we add more to the program?

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 28th, 2012
1:25 pm

Raising taxes isn’t helping.

Who has tried this?

Virginia Highland Boy

August 28th, 2012
1:26 pm

When I saw the headline “Gov. Deal Makes News In Tampa”, I automatically assumed he’d been arrested for stealing something. He may not have been arrested, but he’s certainly shown he’s guilty of stealing access to medical insurance from the poor. What a lovely fellow he is. Hopefully at the end of his only term more of the voters in this state will have grown a brain.

Democrat Man

August 28th, 2012
1:26 pm

Yes we can.
Hope and change.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 28th, 2012
1:27 pm

Hopefully at the end of his only term more of the voters in this state will have grown a brain.

asking an awful lot.

Carl

August 28th, 2012
1:28 pm

Speaking on behalf of the 49% that pay ZERO income tax…I say tax the rich. I don’t want to pay taxes!

Jefferson

August 28th, 2012
1:28 pm

What do you expect from someone who can’t balance their own check book.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 28th, 2012
1:29 pm

if Washington were to change Medicaid into a program where it sends a chunk of money to Georgia and lets the state decide how best to use it.

Give that money out to the wealthy as tax cuts? Or maybe use the money to lure business to Georgia?

Lynnie Gal

August 28th, 2012
1:30 pm

Leave it to Republicans to cheer when people are denied healthcare coverage. The Federal government needs to directly provide assistance to those needing healthcare and not give “block grants” to states like Georgia, whose leaders have no interest in the welfare of its people. Georgia’s leaders would misspend the money to help some representative’s second cousin’s brother-in-law’s business rather than helping the people for whom the money it is intended. Georgia still has too many dimwits who vote against their own self interest, and until that changes, Georgia’s leaders can’t be trusted to distribute any federal dollars for healthcare for Georgia’s people.

Li'l Aynie

August 28th, 2012
1:34 pm

It’s terminal stupidity to turn down a deal in which 90-100% of the cost is covered by the federal government. Think of all the jobs that would be created by the increase in consumer spending.

Give money to the poor, and they will spend every dime, thereby boosting consumer demand, adding jobs, and opening investment opportunities. Give the money to the ultra-rich and Big Business, and they will bet it on derivatives and hedge funds, or send it to overseas tax havens.
Do nothing, and nothing will change.

SM

August 28th, 2012
1:36 pm

Jeez people, give it a break. It’s not the job of gov’t to support every loser who can’t finish school and hold down a job. Pull your weight or get off the planet!

Dusty

August 28th, 2012
1:38 pm

Good point, liberal hack. No state wants to copy California’s crazy debt domain.

————-
Georgia is blessed with a good governor. He won’t spend money we don’t have, won’t project future debts, and knows the national debt is almost beyond fixing.

Now that’s a ;practical man. Too bad that Washington cannot figure out what plain arithmetic should tell you.

JustTheFactsPlease

August 28th, 2012
1:38 pm

Oops, I think he gave us his list of places where he can make cuts…”…the aged, blind and disabled..” This is the man that Georgians elected when he fled the House because of an ethics investigation, lied about his involvement in a company declared bankrupt and is now going to come up with financial solutions for the most vulnerable in GA. WHEN has he done anything for anyone that didn’t have a check book out in front of him??? His motives are ALL to benefit him and only him…well, and the family members and friends he’s put on the State’s payroll.

Centrist

August 28th, 2012
1:40 pm

Good for Deal. Fiscal restraint is more important than attempting to buy votes with taxpayer funds and added debt.

Original Chinese Proverb:
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.
Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.

2012 White House Revision:
Give a man a welfare check, a free cell phone with
Unlimited free minutes, cash for his clunker, food
Stamps, section 8 housing, free contraceptives,
Medicaid, ninety-nine weeks of unemployment, free
Medicine, and he will vote for Democrats the rest of
His life; even after he’s deceased.

Georgia, The " New Mississippi "

August 28th, 2012
1:42 pm

Johnny Reb Economics rules the day in Ga

Gordon

August 28th, 2012
1:44 pm

“We obviously do not have that kind of money”

When’s the last time you heard someone in Washington say that?

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 28th, 2012
1:46 pm

Why don’t we let Georgians vote on whether we will take the expansion or not?

Jefferson

August 28th, 2012
1:46 pm

No vision, just greed.

Typical Obama Voter

August 28th, 2012
1:47 pm

It is the government responsibility to take care of me!

yuzeyurbrane

August 28th, 2012
1:47 pm

A block grant to Nathan Deal!! I have a bridge I want to sell you. What Deal doesn’t mention is that he is willing to leave the 20% of Georgians (that is about 2 million PEOPLE) without health insurance. That means they will continue to crowd into ER’s who end up eating the bills and passing along the costs in increased insurance premiums for the rest of us. Nor does he mention that he is rejecting $35 billion in Federal funds over the same time period we are asked to chip in $4 billion as our share. No brainer? No wonder the sports shop he jointly owned with his daughter and son-in-law went bankrupt. And what about the hospitals that will have to close because their ER bills aren’t being paid? Or the doctors and other medical professionals who would receive most of this $35 billion in Federal money? Not to mention the multiplier effect of money going to all those with whom these institutions and people do business? Yes, Georgia is so wealthy it can thumb its nose at this massive infusion of needed cash. I am not surprised. This is the Governor who I heard at the UGA Commencement uplift graduates by telling them that if they had any trouble finding a job in this economy it is their own fault. Yet somehow he can find money for tax cuts to his rich friends and funding for state financed charter schools as well as quasi-vouchers to private and parochial schools? I wish I could say Georgians were smart enough to see the souls of this man and his buds and turn them all out of office.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 28th, 2012
1:50 pm

name hijacker at 1:49

Jason

August 28th, 2012
1:50 pm

Work hard in school, get good grades, earn a college degree, land an entry level job, and then turn around and pay half your salary for those that decided to do the exact opposite…

yuzeyurbrane

August 28th, 2012
1:51 pm

p.s.– forgot to mention Deal and have no problem publicly funding a large part of Artie Blank’s proposed new stadium. You would at least think they would make their VIP seats available to average voters through some type of drawing.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 28th, 2012
1:51 pm

If Jesus were a Republican:

The Lazy Paralytic
…“This is a gated community. How did you get in?” The man’s friends grew silent. 9. Then Jesus turned and said to the paralytic, “Besides, can’t you take care of your own health problems? I’m sure that your family can care for you, or maybe the synagogue can help out.” 10. “No, Lord,” answered the man’s friends. “There is no one. His injuries are too severe. To whom else can we go?” 11. “Well, not me,” said Jesus. “What would happen if I provided access to free health care for everyone? That would mean that people would not only get lazy and entitled, but they would take advantage of the system. 12. Besides, look at me: I’m healthy. And you know why? Because I worked hard for my money, and took care of myself.” The paralyzed man then grew sad and he addressed Jesus. “But I did work, Lord,” said the paralytic. “Until an accident rendered me paralyzed.” “Yes,” said the man’s friends. “He worked very hard.” 13. “Well,” said Jesus, “That’s just part of life, isn’t it?” “Then what am I to do, Lord?” said the paralytic. “I don’t know. Why don’t you sell your mat?” 14. All in the crowd then grew sad. “Actually, you know what you can do?” said Jesus. “You can reimburse me for my roof. Or I’ll sue you.” And all were amazed. 15. “We have never seen anything like this,” said the crowd.

http://www.alternet.org/belief/what-if-jesus-had-been-republican

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 28th, 2012
1:53 pm

If you’re going to hijack a name and risk getting banned, you should write something better than that! How lame….

Bobby

August 28th, 2012
1:54 pm

Gov. Deal prefers to let Georgia’s poor and downtrodden die in the streets. What fine family values and Christian morals he supports.

southpaw

August 28th, 2012
1:56 pm

I could post “Jesus and the Democrat” here, but since I’ve already posted it once, I don’t want to run the risk of spamming.

md

August 28th, 2012
1:56 pm

“And the states who have decided to expand Medicaid roles will be even more bad shape just like California…..”

I would suspect it will also have an impact on the states that elect not to expand. On our current course, the feds will just keep bailing them out with money from all 50 states…………..

Moremantabby

August 28th, 2012
1:56 pm

“It’s something our state can’t afford…”
Well, if anyone should know about buying things you can’t afford and going bankrupt (although, perhaps, not telling the truth about it to the bankruptcy court), it’s our guv and his family. I suspect he and his won’t suffer since the fine, educated electorate of Georgia elected him governor.

southpaw

August 28th, 2012
1:58 pm

May the fake Finn go the way of the fake @@.

Dusty

August 28th, 2012
1:59 pm

Well, since the Dem machine is trying to wreck Kyle’s blog by using it as a conduit of DemWit hate material, I skip lightly over comments that start with stupid, terminal stupidity, people denied heathcare, Deal & steal, wealthy taxcuts,Jesus, bringing up the rear,and on and on..

It is like loose trash by the side of the road. Makes the place ugly and you wonder why someone threw it out there.

md

August 28th, 2012
2:02 pm

“It’s terminal stupidity to turn down a deal in which 90-100% of the cost is covered by the federal government.”

Maybe….if one had no clue as to where the money was coming from……..think about it, money from the feds……and they first have to get their money from where??

And then folks need to realize that the feds cover the cost of care…..they do not cover the cost that the states will have to incur to provide the extra services for the expansion.

GA is a balanced budget state……and folks are already complaining about the last round of cuts, mainly to education. For those in favor of expansion, what gets cut next??

Complaining is the easy part………….

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 28th, 2012
2:03 pm

trying to wreck it?

Don’t like hearing from people with different opinions, do you? Dusty the Fascist!

Number 15

August 28th, 2012
2:04 pm

It is blatantly obvious that the “change” on the federal level this good old boy is waiting on is the Presidency. If the voters in this so called great nation falls for the head fake and votes for Romney who does not have a clue, this bigoted racist governor will quickly accept monies from a republican-lead federal government……Don’t trust a politician with the last name DEAL.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 28th, 2012
2:05 pm

the last round of cuts, mainly to education.

Those cuts are intended to maintain an ongoing pool of ignorant Republican voters.

Teach a man to think and he will vote Democrat.

double

August 28th, 2012
2:08 pm

Feds should send us a big chunk of money.Then let us decide how to spend it.While siphoning off a few bucks along the way.

Dusty

August 28th, 2012
2:08 pm

I wish Dems would get it straight as to whom is going to post what material on Kyle’s blog… Some goof took Finn’s turn.

md

August 28th, 2012
2:09 pm

“Teach a man to think and he will vote Democrat.”

Just for the record, I was a registered Democrat UNTIL I learned to think……….I loved the idea of voting for others to work so I could get things…….then I worked 3 jobs, put myself through school, and realized that others were choosing NOT to do the same…………….