Posted: 6:19 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Mayor Reed: Time to expand Medicaid
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who has faced criticism for his relatively quiet position on Medicaid expansion in Georgia, joined a handful of mayors on a White House-led call Wednesday advocating expansion in their states. Reed, a rising star on the Democratic stage, is a noted ally of Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, a staunch Obamacare opponent. Deal has said repeatedly that Georgia can’t afford to expand Medicaid.
Reed said nearly 400,000 Georgians would benefit from an expansion. Without it, he said, Grady Memorial Hospital could lose nearly $100 million in annual payments from the federal government for providing charity care. And rural hospitals, Reed said, could be “significantly weakened or forced to close,” he said.
Reed joined Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on the call.
“Let’s do the right thing and cover these 400,000 individuals who can be added to our Medicaid rolls simply by a decision,” he said.
Reed did not specifically call out Deal in his remarks. But when asked by a reporter how he planned to work with the governor, Reed said he’s having private conversations with Deal and other state leaders.
Reed said Deal is concerned about the cost of implementation – estimated at $2.5 billion to $4 billion the state would have to pay over a decade — and therefore he’s helping devise a way to address that issue. Reed said he believes the $33 billion the state would receive over that 10-year-period in federal funds is “worth figuring out” how to pay the cost.
“The long-term benefit of having a healthier population is worth implementing and embracing the Medicaid option right away.”
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