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Abrams, Deal and Medicaid expansion

on January 3 | in In Focus | by | with Comments Off

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams participated in a call on Georgia’s involvement of not participating in the Medicaid expansion. She said there will be a concerted effort to push Governor Nathan Deal to accept the federal dollars, state exchanges and all the Medicaid expansion provisions in Obamacare.  This is not likely to happen in an election year.

Zoller and Bryant had her on to expand on her statements and she does a good job defending her position.

She joined Georgia’s Morning News with Zoller and Bryant and here’s what she had to say:

We also talked to Ralph Hudgens, Insurance Commissioner:

Daniel Malloy, one of the Political Insiders at the AJC was on the call and here’s his report:

WASHINGTON – In a conference call organized by the White House to sing the Affordable Care Act’s praises in Georgia, state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams said there will be a wide-ranging effort this year to cajole Gov. Nathan Deal into expanding Medicaid.

This will come in part by making sure everyone knows that it’s solely Deal’s decision. Said Abrams:

“The most important thing we can do is raise awareness and make sure our constituents understand who has the decision-making power. … I do think there will be a concerted effort not just among the political class but citizen and community groups.”

Medicaid expansion promises to be a crucial issue in Deal’s re-election. And should he seek out some alternative — such as Arkansas’ plan to use the federal money to help low-income residents purchase private insurance instead of get on Medicaid, White House Deputy Senior Adviser David Simas indicated the Obama administration would welcome him with open arms:

“One of the things we have been — and [the department of Health and Human Services] and [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] have been — willing to do is to work with states to craft solutions that meet the needs of their constituents and the unique needs of each individual state. At the end of the day, what we’re interested in is that people have coverage.”

In what is becoming a political war of anecdotes, the White House brought along an Atlanta woman, Nancy Byers, with a pre-existing condition who had signed up for a new plan on the federal health insurance exchange that she deemed superior to her old one and will save her $100 per month.

The call also raises Abrams’ stature as an Obama administration ally in the ATL, a slot now owned most prominently by Mayor Kasim Reed.

Not surprisingly, Deal’s staff took issue with the White House’s contention that it has shown flexibility on Medicaid expansion. Deal spokesman Brian Robinson repeated the governor’s mantra that Georgia can’t afford the new state spending that an expansion would require, which he said would amount to billions of dollars.

“A block grant of Georgia’s share of the money would go a long way toward achieving the administration’s stated goals, without crushing the state budget. That would be true flexibility.”

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