“I’d like to make a standing offer to have the governor spend a day with me in the clinic here. Let’s see what he thinks after he sees the things that I see in a day.”
Dr. Mendenhall, a respected cancer specialist from Albany, issued the challenge over the Thanksgiving holiday in an interview with the Albany Herald.
“This governor has refused to expand Medicaid in the state, and to me that is absolutely idiotic,” Dr. Mendenhall told the paper.
“He’s so out of touch on this issue, he needs to go and see some of the patients with advanced cancers that could have been picked up if they’d been screened earlier. More and more diagnoses are being made in emergency rooms — when it’s often too late — and that’s just wrong.”
For Dr. Mendenhall, this is not a partisan issue.
“I’ve always voted Republican in the past, but that may change. The Republicans in this state appear to be out of touch with reality. There’s no concept of what the poor must go through to receive health care here.”
Gov. Deal’s stubborn, partisan refusal to expand Medicaid under new Federal rules is already hurting people across the state.
Three rural hospitals have shut down this year and as many as 15 more may shut their doors soon.
Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia’s largest safety-net hospital, is now facing the loss of nearly $50 million because of Gov. Deal’s partisan policies.
In Savannah, Memorial Health also faces steep cuts in subsidies. Cancer care may be among the services the hospital will have to cut, the New York Times recently reported.
Dr. Mendenhall is not alone with his call for Gov. Deal to move forward with the new rules. The Georgia Hospital Association backs Medicaid expansion. So do most Georgia voters.
The rules for how Georgia funds our hospitals have changed.
Instead of leading the state forward under the new rules, Gov. Deal is holding his breath. He’s pretending that we’re still using the old rules and hoping they will change again.
Put simply, Gov. Deal has decided to stand in the hospital door and block access to affordable health care.