Georgia Congressman Tom Price has been fighting against the Affordable Care Act since its inception. Now that Republicans dominate the Senate, he’s working on plans to undo the law.
According to the AJC, “As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Price will be in charge of authoring and shepherding a special type of legislation that will allow the GOP to strike broad sections of the Affordable Care Act.”
Price’s alternative to the ACA is ironically called “A Better Way.” Under A Better Way, senator Price claims that he intends to “reform Medicaid so states have the flexibility to offer the kind of coverage that best serves their communities.”
However, for Georgia that would probably mean less coverage. Originally, the Affordable Care Act was implemented to insure that all legal residents at 138% of the Federal Poverty Line would get Medicaid coverage for free. Since Gov. Deal and other conservatives have blocked Medicaid dollars (that we taxpayers have already contributed) from coming back to Georgia, there are more than a half million Georgians that fall into the Medicaid gap.
Politicians like Deal and Price are responsible for sending $8 million a day to other states while Georgia suffers from a rural hospital crisis and now boasts the second-highest uninsured rate in the country.
Currently, Georgia has about ten different types of Medicaid, where coverage varies significantly. On average, Georgia Medicaid tends to cover exclusively children and at-risk groups (including the blind, disabled and elderly), usually at about 100% FPL (where the income limit is $1,628 per month or $19,536 per year for a family of four).
We can’t afford to make Medicaid even less accessible than it already is for so many struggling Georgians. What Price calls “A Better Way” would leave more Georgians living at or near poverty without sufficient health coverage.
Uninsured people will still find health care — but unfortunately, that care will come in the form of emergency room visits that are, often, too late. As citizens of the richest countries in the world, we should ensure that no Georgian is dying because of lack of access to health care.
As self-professed conservatives, Price and Deal should understand that expensive emergency room visits from indigent patients will wind up costing Georgia taxpayers and caregivers much more money. But then again, the fight against Medicaid isn’t driven by logic or reason. It’s one more way for conservative ideologues to push harmful policies that hurt our most vulnerable members of society.