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Should Georgia Governor Expand State’s Medicaid Program?

State Sen. Vincent Fort was among 10 activists arrested Monday in Gov. Nathan Deal's office after calling on the state to expand its Medicaid program.

Georgia State Capitol. Credit: Patch file
Georgia State Capitol. Credit: Patch file
As he was being hauled off in handcuffs Monday, State Sen. Vincent Fort, (D-Atlanta), looked into the cameras and calmly spoke:

“The fact is I don’t mind going to jail if it means 650,000 people might get healthcare from Nathan Deal.”

Fort was among 10 activists arrested Monday for refusing to leave Gov. Nathan Deal’s office after spending the day seeking the governor’s assurance that he would expand the state’s Medicaid program.

The group says Medicaid expansion has the potential to provide access to health insurance to 650,000 of the most low-income Georgians, and create nearly 70,000 more jobs for the state of Georgia.

Pointing to long-term costs that he says will cost Georgia $2.5 billion over 10 years, Deal continues to refuse to expand the state's Medicaid roles.

Two weeks after the first Moral Monday in Georgia, the protesters came to hand the governor a letter outlining the consequences if Medicaid in the state is not expanded. 

As the day passed with the "Medicaid Ten" waiting on Deal, who never appeared, other supporters were outside the governor’s office, while even more with Medicaid expansion signs of support chanted outside the Capitol building.

Police had warned the protesters that they had to leave the office at 5 p.m., and when they did not, they were arrested on code violation that prohibits among other things causing a disturbance in the Gold Dome.  

In addition to Fort, also arrested and taken to Rice Street jail were Rev. Alan Jenkins, Daniel Hanley, Marguerite S. Casey, Kevin Moran, Karen Reagle, Kathy Acker, Megan Harrison, Brittany Gray, and Michael Sehumm.

One of the Moral Monday movement organizers, Tim Franzen of the American Friends Service Committee, recently told Creative Loafing:

"By our calculations, at the very least, the most conservative projection, if Gov. Deal doesn't expand the Affordable Care Act, 600 Georgians are going to die this year. That doesn't account for the thousands of others who will have problems getting the medication they need." 

Deal reportedly could consider alternatives

What do you think, should the governor expand the state’s Medicaid program?


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