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Should Georgia Governor Expand State’s Medicaid Program?

State Sen. Vincent Fort was among 10 activists arrested this past week in Gov. Nathan Deal's office after calling on the state to expand its Medicaid program.

Georgia State Capitol. Credit: Patch file
Georgia State Capitol. Credit: Patch file
As he was being hauled off in handcuffs Monday, State Sen. Vincent Fort, (D-Atlanta) looked into the cameras and calmly spoke:

“The fact is I don’t mind going to jail if it means 650,000 people might get healthcare from Nathan Deal.”

Fort was among 10 activists arrested Monday for refusing to leave Gov. Nathan Deal’s office after spending the day seeking the governor’s assurance that he would expand the state’s Medicaid program.

The group says Medicaid expansion has the potential to provide access to health insurance to 650,000 of the most low-income Georgians, and create nearly 70,000 more jobs for the state of Georgia.

Pointing to long-term costs that he says will cost Georgia $2.5 billion over 10 years, Deal continues to refuse to expand the state's Medicaid roles. 

Two weeks after the first Moral Monday in Georgia, the protesters came to hand the governor a letter outlining the consequences if Medicaid in the state is not expanded. 

As the day passed with the "Medicaid Ten" waiting on Deal, who never appeared, other supporters were outside the governor’s office, while even more with Medicaid expansion signs of support chanted outside the Capitol building.

Police had warned the protesters that they had to leave the office at 5 p.m., and when they did not, they were arrested on code violation that prohibits among other things causing a disturbance in the Gold Dome.  

In addition to Fort, also arrested and taken to Rice Street jail were Rev. Alan Jenkins, Daniel Hanley, Marguerite S. Casey, Kevin Moran, Karen Reagle, Kathy Acker, Megan Harrison, Brittany Gray, and Michael Sehumm.

One of the Moral Monday movement organizers, Tim Franzen of the American Friends Service Committee, recently told Creative Loafing:

"By our calculations, at the very least, the most conservative projection, if Gov. Deal doesn't expand the Affordable Care Act, 600 Georgians are going to die this year. That doesn't account for the thousands of others who will have problems getting the medication they need." 

Deal reportedly could consider alternatives.  

What do you think, should the governor expand the state’s Medicaid program?

Michael February 02, 2014 at 08:24 AM
No way. It is not the government's responsibility to give and pay for insurance for the citizens. We cannot afford to pay for this program parented by the liar in chief. Long term cost is too much for the taxpayers of the state
John DeRogan February 02, 2014 at 02:52 PM
This is yet another great example of conservative hypocrisy: the heck with the sick and poor. We won't pay for that, but we're happy to try and lower taxes for our multi-millionaire friends and corporations. I wonder why conservative republicans even bother going to church as they have absolutely nothing in common with Christian teachings anyway.
Lyle G. LePage February 02, 2014 at 05:37 PM
This is yet another way for the left to make an end run in order to get Georgia paying for Obama's health care boondoggle. If the poor are so adamant about Medicaid why not move to a more "blue" state. Let the democrats pay for their peers.
Allah Tabul February 03, 2014 at 12:57 AM
Conservatives are too busy shoveling tax $$$ into the lost, unnecessary war against my people in Afghanistan and to their 'corporations are people!' lobbyists to their to care about their fellow Americans. Once Israel again cons America into fighting a war on its behalf - this time against Iran - your country will go bankrupt. boomshakalaka Amen!
Frank Anastasia February 03, 2014 at 05:15 PM
This country needs to get these entitlements under control. Too many people who simply live their entire life with their hand out. Never make a effort to better themselves, never make an effort to work hard, make poor life decisions, then expect someone else to pay for THEIR needs. But this is obama's vision for American, turning this once powerful nation into another 3rd world welfare society.

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