The discussion around the office cooler was how we could have saved $2 million of taxpayer money the governor spent to have Deloitte help him understand if his plan for Medicaid expansion would work as intended. That isn’t what’s taking place. His people and consultants are taking a finite budget number and seeing how they can most efficiently spend it. Unfortunately the healthcare of people isn’t efficient and Kemp’s plan isn’t conservative as advertised, but wasteful and fiscally irresponsible. Not that the state is already irresponsibly sending away $3 billion per year of our tax dollars to other states so they can have real Medicaid expansion for their constituents, medical professionals, and hospitals.

Many don’t have the bargaining power to command quality health insurance, much less good rates. A quarter of a million Georgians don’t qualify for Medicaid. These are fellow Georgians at the bottom of the pyramid who wake up every day trying to do without. Medicaid is not a “handout.” We pay for those without health insurance anyway — that’s not conservative.

The planned work requirements aren’t working in any state with costly legal challenges. It requires an expensive tracking system with regulatory burdens. This program insults these struggling people. Are we so afraid that someone might get something that many with subsidized health insurance already benefit from? And we think we can build our own healthcare exchange better than the Federal exchange, but will cost taxpayers more?

We’re one of the top five states for uninsured citizens, 1 of every 4 in rural areas. As a business owner, how do I recruit and retain employees in this, the great state for business, when I can’t offer them help with health insurance, encourage them to purchase junk insurance that doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions (like diabetes), costs significantly more for some (like my older or female employees), and is really a poorly managed insurance system with incredibly high co-pays.

Closing the Medicaid gap with real expansion would create jobs and drive economic activity. Our state is educating an army of healthcare professionals needed for the growing and aging population here. As businesspeople, we know Kemp’s plan costs more and delivers much less for fewer people than a full Medicaid expansion would. This governor is feeding false hope to hundreds of thousands of Georgians while the people and hospitals here get sicker and die faster — we’re better than this.

Patrick Thompson


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