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Credit: pskinner@ajc.com

Credit: pskinner@ajc.com

Hospital closings tied to state refusal of Medicaid expansion

A huge safety net hospital in Atlanta is soon to close. This is based to a great extent on the state government refusing to expand Medicaid.

When the Affordable Care Act was implemented, Medicare reimbursement to hospitals significantly dropped because there were supposed to be no more uninsured patients. However, in its infinite wisdom, our state government, along with 11 other predominantly Southern states, decided that they would rather have uninsured patients than billions of federal dollars and refused to expand Medicaid.

The negative economic impact on the state has been huge and disastrous (at least 11 Georgia hospitals have closed since this decision).

It is time that Georgia embraced Medicaid expansion, and Georgians vote for politicians who favor this economic no-brainer. If you don’t, and your local hospital has closed, or you are waiting for hours in an emergency room, you can blame the current governor and state legislature for not expanding Medicaid.

MICHAEL E. MCCONNELL, M.D., ASSOCIATED EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND PEDIATRICS, EMORY UNIVERSITY

Libertarians are fiscally conservative, socially tolerant

A recent issue of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution included two articles people can use to distinguish libertarians from Republicans and Democrats. Regarding Georgia’s $6.57 billion surplus, while Stacey Abrams would keep all but $1 billion and Brian Kemp would keep all but $2 billion, libertarians would return all (possibly after retaining a reasonable surplus) to taxpayers.

People should note how Republicans constantly simply stay right of Democrats on finances. As far as abortion, like Democrat Attorney General candidate Jen Jordan, libertarian Martin Cowen would not enforce an abortion law if he thought it was unconstitutional. So, libertarians are, unlike the major parties, fiscally conservative and, like Democrats, socially tolerant. With the nation’s huge financial problems and 70 percent of voters believing the country is headed in the wrong direction (per a recent AJC poll), one would think moderate libertarianism would be appealing. Old habits and old political parties die hard.

ALLEN BUCKLEY, SMYRNA