Wayne Memorial Hospital in Jesup, Georgia, on Jan. 4, 2019. The hospital has to treat all comers, whether they can pay or not; and they’re always concerned about private profit-making businesses cherry-picking the profitable procedures and leaving public hospitals to fail. Although other rural hospitals have closed in Georgia, Wayne Memorial Hospital was still in the black — for now. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Opinion: Paying for healthcare for Ga.’s needy

An eagerly awaited development from the Gold Dome this year was the announcement by Gov. Brian Kemp of details about his proposed Affordable Care Act waivers. Even in a time of unprecedented, and deep, differences of opinion on almost any public policy subject, both sides of the aisle somewhat agree that Georgia needs to find a way to make it easier for people here to access health insurance. To a degree, there also seems to be some recognition now that Georgia’s past refusal to fully sign on to the law known as Obamacare had hampered people’s ability to gain, or pay for, health coverage.

The waivers announced in November are intended to ease this state into a posture supporters say will help lower the number of people here who lack health insurance. Estimates have put this group’s size at nearly 500,000 people in Georgia.

As expected, even given a mutual recognition of the need to reduce these ranks, the political battles over how best to do it continue unabated. Conservatives say that full Medicaid expansion is unaffordable. Progressives point out that, by not doing so, Georgians’ federal tax dollars are helping subsidize other states to do just that.

Today, we present viewpoints both critical and favorable of Gov. Kemp’s proposal. We also have an expanded package of opinions on this issue online at AJC.com.

The Editorial Board.

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