December 12, 2013

The right call

Many want to blame Obamacare’s poor rollout and enrollment numbers on states like Georgia that have not created their own health care exchanges or expanded their Medicaid coverage.

We should be very happy our leadership in Georgia chose not to join the other states who did such things. The cost for those mistakes because of Medicaid enrollment numbers could have destroyed the already fragile budgets we are running.

According to the most recent numbers, roughly 1.6 million Americans have enrolled in Obamacare. Enrolled, however, is not the same as actually paid for insurance. That is still an unknown number. Of those 1.6 million enrollees, 1.46 million, or  91 percent, have signed up for Medicaid. If these numbers continue, it could bankrupt both federal and state governments.

Medicaid is our country’s third largest government program, behind only Medicare and Social Security. The Congressional Budget Office projects that, in part because of Obamacare, Medicaid spending could more than double over the next 10 years and that is only the federal portion.

It gets much worse for states. For most states, Medicaid is the single largest cost of government, ahead of education, public safety and transportation. Had our state leadership taken the bait and expanded Medicaid on only a promise that the federal government would pay the bulk of new expenses, the results could be irreparable. After all, the federal government isn’t known for keeping its promises. States that expand Medicaid could be left holding a very large bag.

And most importantly at the most local level, Medicaid pays our community doctors very little. On average, Medicaid only reimburses doctors 72 cents out of each dollar of their cost. Because of the low reimbursement, and the bureaucratic system that accompanies any government program, many doctors accept very few Medicaid patients, or do not take Medicaid patients at all. One study found that among clinics that accepted both privately insured children and those enrolled in Medicaid, the average wait time for an appointment was 42 days for those with Medicaid compared to just 20 days for the privately insured.

Could this be the reason why so many Medicaid patients show up at the emergency room for treatment? They can’t find a doctor to treat them. This not only increases the numbers in an already crowded emergency room, but more importantly hurts those who come with real emergencies.

The decisions by Georgia’s leaders to leave Medicaid as it is and to not set up a statewide exchange look smarter each day.

Text Only
  • Ensuring the joy of reading

    They’re little, they’re libraries, and best of all, they’re free.

    July 28, 2014

  • Move carefully, but soon

    No one intended for it to happen. No one had any bad motives.
    But during a period of 40 years or more, quite a few people didn’t do enough planning, didn’t have enough foresight to see what all of the development in Dalton would do.

    July 27, 2014

  • Local school systems must bear costs of federal immigration failure

    No word. No warning. Little help.
    That’s what Dalton Public Schools officials received from the federal government when it dropped 30 Central American students into local classrooms last school year.

    July 26, 2014

  • Sacrifices worth honoring

    Members of the Dalton City Council were recently approached by representatives of the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart with a request to declare Dalton a Purple Heart City. Council members indicated they will approve the request.

    July 24, 2014

  • We must do better

    The numbers tell a sad tale.
    Registered voters: 36,843.
    Cards cast: 5,307.
    That means the turnout for Tuesday’s runoffs in Whitfield County was a measly 14.4 percent, according to unofficial results from the Whitfield County elections office.

    July 23, 2014

  • Letter: Control immigration

    Thousands are starting to pour into our country, and things are getting personal. Why would we end up the bad guys if we turn away children who aren’t ours? How does it make us better people to let one man steal from our children and stand by and do nothing?

    July 23, 2014

  • Helping with Book Blast betters the community

    The school test results are in, and students in Whitfield and Murray counties mostly improved from a year ago, mirroring or exceeding average scores of their peers.

    July 23, 2014

  • Mark Millican: Guns are already everywhere

    Though it happened over 30 years ago, the image is still vivid.

    July 22, 2014

  • Charles Oliver: Former officer works overtime improperly

    Stephen F. Hall has pleaded guilty to theft by deception and falsifying a government record.

    July 22, 2014

  • Dalton council should seek answers

    Judicial elections in this area are usually pretty staid. In fact, they are generally nonexistent, since most judges run unopposed.

    July 21, 2014