Georgia Republican Delegation Says State Can't Afford Democrats Medicaid Expansion
The seven members of the Georgia Republican delegation issued the following statements today after sending the Speaker of the House a letter expressing concerns about a proposed expansion of Medicaid, as part of a government takeover of health care.
In the letter, the G-7 state, "Georgia has estimated that the cost of the House and Senate passed unfunded mandates, for just new enrollees, would cost a staggering $2.64 billion under the House version Georgia currently cannot afford the cost of expanding Medicaid under the House and Senate bills. Due to the crippled economy, Georgia is facing significant budget problems and has been forced to make cuts to current services including K-12 education, public assistance, corrections, transportation and others."
The full letter can be found below.
"As Democrats look to try and figure out what to do with the health care debacle they have created here in Congress, it is essential that we do not allow them to pass the cost of their mess on to individual states," said Rep. Phil Gingrey (GA-11). "Unfunded mandates in the House and Senate bill that expand Medicaid could cost Georgia up to $2.64 billion -- an overwhelming amount that Georgia simply cannot afford. Just because Georgia didn't cut any special backroom deals like Nebraska, Louisiana, Massachusetts doesn't mean Georgia's children and families should lose out because of the Democrats' lack of fiscal responsibility."
"Georgia can't afford Pelosi's plan for health care and neither can our nation," said Rep. Jack Kingston (GA-1). "If we're going to get serious about bringing meaningful reform to this our health care system, Congress needs to go back to the drawing board. We can do better and we owe it to the American people to do just that."
"Perhaps Speaker Pelosi, who believes a government program is the answer to every problem, can tell us which Georgia teachers she would like to fire, which state employees she'd like to lay off, how many prisoners we should release or how much we should jack up college tuition so that Georgia can find the money to pay for this Medicaid increase," said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-3). "We can't print money for the state budget. We're facing tough choices -- and the choices are between which expensive entitlement we want to expand."
"In their rush to pass incredibly flawed health care legislation, Washington Democrats are threatening every State in the Union with even more unfunded mandates," said Rep. Tom Price (GA-6). "Every state, that is, except for those whose elected officials cut backroom deals. Reforming health care should mean lower costs and greater access, quality, and control for patients across this land. It shouldn't mean even larger budget deficits for Georgia's already over-burdened taxpayers but special deals for others. This proposed Medicaid expansion is the wrong way to reform health care and a sure way to increase Georgians' taxes."
"The Georgia Department of Community Health estimated in December that starting in 2013 President Obama's massive proposed Medicaid expansion would cost Georgia taxpayers $100 -$200 million more per year than they are already paying," said Rep. John Linder (GA-7). "Georgians are already grappling with ways to balance the state budget, and they will likely have to endure major cuts in state services or increased taxes to do so. Hard-working Georgians simply can't afford to have their taxes raised in order to hand President Obama a political victory."
"Despite shortfalls in our state budget and the ever-increasing burden on the citizens of Georgia in these difficult economic times, the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress prefer to ignore the reality of our fiscal situation as Georgia's teachers, law enforcement officials and other critical workers bear furlough days as a result of state and federal budget deficits," said Rep. Nathan Deal (GA-9). "Healthcare reform should reduce cost and improve health insurance coverage, not add billions in new costs and state obligations under the control of bureaucrats in Washington."
"After a close examination of Pelosicare and Reidcare, my diagnosis is that these bills would do more harm than good," said Rep. Paul Broun (GA-10). "Forcing Georgia to pay more while other states receive special treatment is unethical and Democrat Leaders should be ashamed of themselves for attempting such a thing. Everyone should be equal under the law. I pray we can scrap these two government takeovers and begin work on the market-based, bipartisan health care reforms that Americans are demanding."
Text of letter:
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi The Honorable John A. Boehner
Speaker of the House House Republican Leader
Office of the Speaker Office of the House Republican Leader
H-232, The Capitol H-204, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Steny H. Hoyer
House Majority Leader
Office of the Majority Leader
H-107, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Pelosi, House Majority Leader Hoyer, and House Republican Leader Boehner:
We are very concerned about the potential difficulty states may encounter as a result of health care legislation. Any final health care bill negotiated between the House of Representatives and the Senate should not result in inequitable treatment or unfunded mandates on the state of Georgia.
As you are aware, both the House and Senate bills expand coverage under Medicaid expansion to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and 133% FPL, respectively. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, such a mandate in which states would be forced to pick up part of the funds for newly eligible individuals would cost $34 billion in the House bill and $26 billion in the Senate bill.
Georgia has estimated that the cost of the House and Senate passed unfunded mandates, for just new enrollees, would cost a staggering $2.64 billion under the House version (not including the Stimulus extension or a Primary Care Reimbursement increase) and anywhere from $1.54 billion to $1.79 billion under the Senate version.
This raises many concerns since Georgia currently cannot afford the cost of expanding Medicaid under the House and Senate bills. Due to the crippled economy, Georgia is facing significant budget problems and has been forced to make cuts to current services including K-12 education, public assistance, corrections, transportation and others.
Georgia is not alone in its concerns about being able to pay for this unfunded mandate.
On October 21, 2009, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) wrote the House and Senate Leadership stating:
NCSL's paramount priority regarding national health reform is the legislation's treatment of Medicaid and we oppose unconditionally any provisions related to Medicaid that would shift costs to states. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to provide full funding for new mandatory eligibility categories, services and increases for reimbursement. We support 100 percent federal matching payments for Medicaid expansions. A lesser commitment from the federal government would shift billions of costs to states and would have serious short and long-term consequences for state budgets.
Under the Senate bill, however, it appears that only a handful of states including Nebraska, Louisiana, Vermont and Massachusetts, are going to receive special treatment through additional federal Medicaid funds, leaving the remaining 46 states on the hook to pick up the full tab. We urge you to remove any special deals and unfunded mandates from the final bill language.
Thank you for your consideration of our request.