Four and counting

petition-deal-walks-away-hospitals

Remember that little ice event we had in Middle Georgia last week? As bucket trucks streamed into Washington County, preparations were underway to house approximately 25 linemen in the wellness center at Washington County Regional Hospital.

While the storm was making its way east towards us, Lower Oconee Hospital in Glenwood closed its doors. That’s the fourth small hospital to close while Governor Deal has been in office. Fifteen to twenty more are at risk for closure, but much-needed federal dollars are being turned away by Deal and his supporters in the General Assembly.

Beth O’Connor, the Virginia Rural Health Association’s Executive Director wrote in the Roanoke Times yesterday, “Hospitals are not businesses. If someone goes to a hair salon, grocery, clothing store or movie theater, but does not have money, they will not receive service. But federal regulations require hospitals to treat anyone who walks through the Emergency Room door – regardless of ability to pay.”

O’Connor goes on to point out that Virginia’s legislators are turning away $5M per day of federal funding that her state’s small hospitals need. Those federal dollars are tax dollars paid for by hard-working Virginians. But Virginia’s tax dollars are going to other states.

So are ours. Georgia’s tax dollars are also going to other states where leaders know Medicaid Expansion makes sense for the health of small hospitals and the people they serve.

And now there are efforts underway to allow a part-time legislature to have the power to fix Georgia’s already hobbled healthcare system.

Governor Deal could take action right now, today, and direct the tax dollars we’ve already paid, to come back to Georgia. Instead of taking the long view that stretches beyond November’s election, Governor Deal refuses to help small hospitals and the 1 Million rural citizens who count on them every day.

What will happen when Governor Deal hits the campaign trail outside Atlanta and finds it littered with closed hospitals? Will the four counties now without a hospital be campaign stops? Will he be met at campaign rallies in rural Georgia by already angry teachers and recently unemployed hospital healthcare professionals?

You can tell Governor Deal and our state legislators to bring our federal tax dollars home to serve Georgians. Sign the petition and tell Governor Deal to Save Georgia’s Hospitals Today!


On the road in Virginia

The Friday Photo
A weekly photo inspired by art, community, and spontaneity
October 26, 2012

This week’s Friday photo and post are used with permission from Robert Gluck.

photo courtesy of Robert Gluck, taken in northern Virginia

I took this photo on my way home from work today. In case you can’t read the bumper stickers, they say:

Anything you GET
from the GOVERNMENT
was TAKEN from someone else.

THIS IS AMERICA
We Don’t Redistribute Wealth
YOU EARN IT!

Let’s parse this, shall we?

The first three lines are basically true. Assuming this person (we’ll call her Jane) paid taxes, at least part of what Jane GETS from the government came from her own pocket, but that is pretty negligible in the big picture.

The next line is also indisputable; this is, indeed, America.

The fifth line is the problem, because, actually, we DO redistribute wealth and always have. You’ll notice that Jane is driving on a road. I happen to know that this road was built with money gathered from millions of Virginia taxpayers with, no doubt, some thrown in from taxpayers around the country via federal transportation dollars. That money was REDISTRIBUTED to the Virginia Department of Transportation which in turn paid to have the road built (and repaved several times since then) for the benefit of everyone, including me and Jane.

The last line, taken on its own with the understanding that it is referring to “wealth,” is also true. You EARN wealth, except, of course, for the money that is passed down to you from parents and relatives (though we could argue that THEY earned it — or at least someone up the family tree earned it), by working for a living.

However, if we consider the six lines as a single sentiment, as I believe they were intended to be understood, it is clear that Jane has not thought her statement out carefully enough.

America DOES redistribute wealth. This was not a decision imposed on us by a hostile outside force, rather, it was a decision made by Americans back in the good old days that I’m sure Jane wishes we would return to (but, alas, Jane, they never existed). It is a decision that has been reaffirmed and expanded upon by liberals, moderates, and conservatives for decades and decades.

And Jane, when America chose to collect a share of wealth from those who could afford it and to then spend it in ways we agreed it should be spent (because America is, after all, the greatest democracy on earth), we understood that we were GIVING something to our beloved country in RETURN for roads, schools (Jane, by the way, also had a bumper sticker for a public elementary school which, presumably, Jane Jr. attends), and our national defense (and we ALL honor those who serve our country).

So Jane, this is America, and we SHARE our wealth because we love our country, our children, and our freedom.