Governor, what is the Option?

Online Athens

Online Athens

There have been numerous local and national commentaries on the remarks made by Governor Deal last week in which he said the uninsured should be turned away from emergency rooms because it is too expensive to care for them.

Deal said at an event held at the University of Georgia, “I think we should be able in this passage of time to figure out ways to deal with those situations but not have the excessive costs associated with unnecessary visits to the emergency room.”

It is no secret in Georgia that Deal does not support the Affordable Care Act and has refused to support the expansion of Medicaid that would offer thousands of Georgians much needed healthcare benefits.  A federal government 1986 law required hospitals to provide emergency care whether patients were citizens or they had the ability to pay. Even staunch progressives would argue that seeking emergency care instead of preventive care is expensive no matter how you look at it.  But if you don’t want to expand Medicaid to meet the needs of low-income citizens and you want to close the doors to emergency rooms for desperate patients who can’t afford to go anywhere else. Governor, what is the option?

It is easy to become mired in statistics, budget lingo and the righteous indignation that affords those who have healthcare options to discuss disenfranchising others. And for those who would debate the merits of what is governments’ moral obligation to its citizenry. The answer should never be the horrible consequences of denying the least among us because it is fiscally responsible to do so. It is outrageous and incorrigible.



  1. Michael Charles says:

    I been a paramedic transporting people to the emergency rooms in metro Atlanta hospitals for over 25 years. If you are under the impression that every person arriving to any emergency room in metro Atlanta by ambulance or car, or public transportation, or walk-in, uninsured or insured, is necessary and emergent by any reasonable person’s definition of a “medical emergency” you are misinformed. For a number of reasons including federal and state laws/regulations, health insurance companies’ and hospital policies, public policy, and public expectations and demands, and other vested interests in maintaining the status quo, the “emergency room” has become one 24 hour, 7 days a week open door no appointment necessary medical clinic for everything from immediate life threats situations, to the sinus infection, to indigestion, to toothaches, to depression, to hunger, to persons with no other place to go and everything in between. And that’s why its so expensive and that’s why it “takes so long to be seen and treated” for most every complaint in any urban or suburban ER.
    There are alternate, more efficient, practical, patient satisfying, and less costly ways to deliver emergency medical care and health care in general that could start tomorrow. The entire emergency medical care delivery and compensation system needs to be razed and rebuilt from ground zero. But there are powerful players, financial, political, special interest groups and other stakeholders involved whose various agendas are advanced by maintaining the status quo.