One way the Republican health plan will impact my rural county

Last night I used this nifty tool released by the Kaiser Family Foundation to calculate how the proposed health care bill released by the Republicans Tuesday night will impact Washington County.

In Washington County, if you are 60 years old and making $40,000 a year (per capita income is under $38,000 in my county), the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) health insurance tax credit in 2020 will be $7,800. The House plan would provide a credit of just $4,000 in 2020. That means the cost of buying health insurance for a 60-year-old making $40,000 per year will GO UP by $3,800 if the Republican plan is adopted.

Washington County health data comparing ACA and proposed plan from Republicans

Under the current plan, insurance companies are capped at charging three times the amount charged for coverage for younger people. Under the Republican plan the cap increases to five times the cost of rates charged to younger people.

There are also considerable cuts to Medicaid and Medicare.

All of these proposed changes will impose serious financial and health threats to people in my county who may not be able to afford insurance any longer, and these expenses will be added to the other cuts to funding in the proposed legislation. These factors, plus others in the proposed plan, do not bode well for our hospital or facilities in other rural communities.

Last May Washington County voters took on a bond to support our hospital, knowing that the bond could not solve all of the financial problems for our struggling facility. We still have work to do if we want to keep our hospital open.

January 17, 2014

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources can’t seem to get warnings right in regards to the coal chemical contamination that continues to leave citizens looking for a glass of fresh water. Georgians should be aware that neither our state’s Environmental Protection Division or Department of Community Health issued warnings about health risks during the largest fish kill in our state’s history on the Ogeechee River in May 2011. That was left up to the counties.

Speaking of unpermitted dumping and our rivers, U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood signed an order yesterday approving the settlement between the Ogeechee Riverkeeper and King America Finishing over the fish kill referenced above. The Savannah Morning News says, “Wood’s order ends that legal dispute while allowing King America to deny culpability.” A handful of private citizens are still pursuing the company in other legal action.

Week One and Republican legislators under the Gold Dome are considering giving Federal gun control the finger and with legislation that would provide a “hall pass” to violate laws and regs. Creative Loafing covers it.

The Peach Pundit said yesterday that a possible restoration of funds for “charity hospitals” in Georgia might be in the works. The Pundit wrote, “making sure that charity hospitals–especially in rural Georgia–don’t close due to lack of funding could complete the hat trick that lets Deal remain in the governor’s mansion for another four years.” Serving patients who require Medicaid does not make a facility a “charity hospital.” And FYI, hospitals in Atlanta, Athens, and Savannah are not rural hospitals. They may serve rural patients, but they are urban/metro providers.

Restoring the backbone of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 might happen with a bipartisan bill introduced by yesterday. And yes, it would apply to Georgia.

Tennis players and fans roasting on the barbie has re-ignited the climate debate since the polar vortex.