Georgia Faces its Own Fiscal Cliff Over Healthcare Reform

It’s not just the nation as a whole facing issues with Fiscal Cliffs and Debt Ceilings and Oh-My-God-it-Costs-THAT-Much Waterfalls and Insolvency Swamps. Each state has its own financial issues — especially healthcare financial issues.

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An illustrative example would be the state of Georgia. According to Georgia State Representative Pat Gardner: Two important healthcare issues loom large for the General Assembly: the renewal of a hospital assessment fee, and whether Georgia takes advantage of federal funds available to families newly eligible for Medicaid.

Gardner lays out both sides of the Federal Funds issue: “Currently, one in five Georgians has no health insurance.” That butts up against “a [massive] debt of uncompensated care.”

“Here in Georgia we face a healthcare fiscal cliff created by an underfunded trust fund for the poor and growing healthcare costs. If our state continues to refuse Medicaid expansion, Georgia’s taxpayers will take the dive.”

Ultimately, Gardner, a Democrat, sees the only clear path for Georgia as the one that leads to Georgia accepting the federal funds. That she’s a democrat has some bearing on this; her Republican colleagues don’t see the issue of accepting governmental money as so easy. It speaks against their current No Big Government rhetoric.

However, as Gardner sees it: “Ultimately, the uninsured pass the cost on to employers through lost productivity, and to everyone else through higher insurance rates through cost shifts that continue the never-ending cycle of premium increases, higher co-pays and deductibles.” She sees accepting federal funds as a way to stem wasted dollars from both sides of the political spectrum. “Medicaid expansion is the smart business move for our state’s health and our financial bottom line. And it is the smartest move we can make to avoid our own healthcare fiscal cliff.”