Gov. Nathan Deal’s refusal to accept an expansion of Medicaid, or to set up a health insurance exchange in Georgia as required by the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) aren’t new news. Deal made it clear he’d reject an expansion of Medicaid not long after the Supreme Court‘s ACA ruling made it easier for states to decline. And Deal telegraphed his decision about exchanges for months before he made it official on November 16.
Some background: The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that if Georgia accepted the Medicaid expansion under the ACA, the state would pay $2.5 billion over a decade. In turn, D.C. would funnel an estimated $33 billion into health care in Georgia during the same period. The results: half a million otherwise uninsured Georgians would have health insurance, and roughly $33 billion in new economic activity in a state with higher-than-the-national-average unemployment. To put those numbers in perspective, the state government’s total budget for the current fiscal year is $19.3 billion.
Deal’s reason for rejecting the Medicaid expansion? He says the state can’t afford it. For the sake of not arguing the ACA yet again, let’s take Deal at his word and accept his assertion that the state can’t afford $250 million per year in expenses in return for insuring 500,000 people and an additional $3 billion or so annually in economic activity.
Fast forward to Wednesday (which was actually two days ago, but you know what I mean).
In case you’re in a non-video mood, it’s a clip of Gov. Deal voicing his support for a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons. The stadium would cost the state around $300 million.
You know those obnoxious jerks who judge poor people harshly for their perceived bad spending choices? Well, today I’m that obnoxious person. And Georgia is that guy who just bought a nice, new car to park in front of his run-down house.