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Peach care funding has lapsed along with rural health care programs

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The program that provides health care for tens of thousands of Georgia kids has expired and even it were renewed, it is looking to be cut by nearly a half-billion dollars a report in today's AJC states.


Other programs that provide subsidies for rural health care including monies to keep rural hospitals open have also been allowed to expire.


While current funds in these program accounts will likely last at least until November, the expiration of these programs throws uncertainty into health care providers who have patients who use these programs to pay.



“We have tried to get the attention of our elected officials and it’s just not on their radar,” Kevin Miracle said in desperation earlier this week. Miracle is the CEO of Georgia Mountains Health, part of a “community health center” program set up under President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. “You can see this ‘It’s not urgent til it’s urgent,’ ” he said. “But it has impact.”

Miracle said he had seen funding battles push uncomfortably close to the deadline before, leaving only months to spare. But nothing like this.

“This fiscal cliff thing,” he said, “we haven’t faced it in the way we’re facing it this time.”

A start

Health officials worry about a handful of programs with deadlines just passed.

  • Community Health Center subsidies such as Miracle’s fund 35 centers in Georgia with about $86 million a year, perhaps 70 percent of which was cut. Nationally, the program is facing a $3.6 billion cut, and that cut will be distributed among the states.
  • Subsidies for rural hospitals, called “rural extenders,” have expired to the tune of at least $11.7 million in this state this coming year. The small facilities say that represents a large portion of their bottom lines.
  • Subsidies for hospitals that treat a disproportionate share of indigent patients, such as Grady Memorial Hospital, are cut by $49 million in Georgia for the coming year. The figure depends on changing variables but is to expand to approximately $149 million by 2025.
  • Subsidies for working-class kids, called the Children’s Health Insurance Program nationally and PeachCare in Georgia, face cuts of $427 million in Georgia this year.
  • In addition, some companies offering policies on the Obamacare exchange market said they raised rates and pulled back coverage because of uncertainty about federal subsidies for lower-income customers.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s chief of staff, Chris Riley, said the governor “is confident that Congress will meet its obligations and reauthorize the CHIP program and not place hundreds of thousands of Georgians in jeopardy.” He did not address the other lapsed programs.


Even if they reauthorize the programs; the lapse is one of those things that folks in state government, not to mention program providers love. I mean worrying about what the government will do - it is officially off the hook for repayment if they decide not to reauthorize - is a great way to sooth the psyche of those involved because uncertainty is such a comforting feeling.




PS: It is fair to wonder if these guys even know how to govern. According to the AJC story (link) the three failed efforts to repeal obamacare snowballed work on these programs.

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Like their manchild president that lashes out at anyone that dares to criticize him, even victims of hurricanes, if Republicans can't repeal the ACA then by god they'll get their pound of flesh from someone even if that happens to be little children.

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