Gov. Deal Wants to Restrict Emergency Room Care for Low-Income People
(APN) ATLANTA — It is no secret that there is an element in the Republican Party that has callous disdain for poor people and blames them for being poor.
On Monday, March 03, 2014, Georgia’s Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, made that element blatantly obvious, with his bold new idea that uninsured people should be turned away from emergency rooms because it is too expensive to care for them.
He has also refused to accept federal funds for expansion of Medicaid that would give poor Georgians an alternative using the emergency room for medical care.
“If they really want to get serious about lowering the cost of healthcare in this country, they would revisit another federal statute that has been there for a long time,” Deal said at a gathering of political science alumni at the University of Georgia, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper.
“It came as a result of bad facts, and we have a saying that bad facts make bad law.”
“I think we should be able in this passage of time to figure out ways to deal with those situations [low-income pregnant women requiring emergency care], but not have the excessive costs associated with unnecessary visits to the emergency room,” he said.
Gov. Deal wants for U.S. Congress to help Georgia save money by repealing the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. This is a law that requires hospitals to provide emergency health care to anyone who needs it regardless of their ability to pay.
If Gov. Deal would expand Medicaid to the six hundred and fifty thousand Georgians who are uninsured, then they would have a policy that could pay for doctor visits instead of forcing low-income Georgians to forgo medical care, going to the emergency room when minor problems become emergencies. The federal government would pick up one hundred percent of the cost for the Medicaid expansion for three years, plus ninety percent until 2022.
If politicians want to get serious about lowering the cost of health care, then perhaps they should reduce the cost of their very generous federal and state subsidized health care benefits.
Gov. Deal and others who served in Congress have their lifetime taxpayer-subsidized health insurance and lifetime pensions at taxpayers expense.
The federal government spent about 59 billion dollars on social welfare programs and 92 billion dollars on corporate subsidies in 2006, according to the Cato Institute. That is about fifty percent more on corporate welfare than on social programs.
Few Republican politicians seem to be upset about wasteful federal and state spending when it goes to corporate ‘welfare queens’ like Walmart or Georgia Power, with its ill-conceived Plant Vogtle. But let a sick or dying poor person get health care and the G.O.P. goes ballistic, hollering socialized medicine and wanting to save money.
This out-of-touch attitude towards poor working class, sick Georgians is cruel and mean spirited. This is the platform Gov. Deal apparently plans to run on, in his bid for reelection in November.