This week, two more Republican governors came out in support for taking advantage of new federal funding to ensure health coverage for more of their state’s residents. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder bring to six the number of GOP governors who have announced they will move forward to expand Medicaid.
Even though both of these governors have been consistent foes of the Affordable Care Act, their broad opposition has not stopped them from realizing that using new federal funding to address health coverage needs will be good for their states. Gov. Kasich noted Ohio is “…going to extend Medicaid for the working poor and for those who are jobless trying to find work. It makes great sense for the state of Ohio because it will allow us to provide greater care with our own dollars.” Michigan’s governor rightly points out that extending coverage makes for a better health care system, because “those who are uninsured are using the emergency room as their primary health care. That’s a flawed system.”
These same justifications are equally true for Georgia, which is home to more uninsured residents than either Ohio or Michigan. Despite Gov. Nathan Deal’s past opposition to the law, Georgia would benefit dramatically by accepting more than $30 billion in new federal funds over the next ten years. It would enable the state to cover hundreds of thousands of Georgians who will otherwise remain uninsured. Instead of continuing to tout inflated cost estimates, the state’s leaders should look more closely at the benefits other states will realize and move to ensure that Georgia benefits too.
As more governors of both parties move to ensure health coverage more Americans while at the same time securing important federal funds that benefit their states, it becomes even more important for Georgia to keep pace and take advantage of new coverage opportunities for its citizens.