Another rural Georgia hospital is closing its doors as that state continues to block the Medicaid expansion. The Lower Oconee Community Hospital does not have enough volume to stay open, yet many of the nearby residents are being refused much need health insurance that would have provided that facility with more patients. This is the fourth rural hospital in Georgia being forced to shut down, which means residents will have to travel about thirty miles if they need hospital care. The Hospital’s CEO Karen O’Neal told CBS, “It’s a terrible situation, and it’s tragic.”
In Wheeler County, where this hospital operates, one in four residents is uninsured, and more than 40 percent of children live in poverty. The Medicaid expansion would provide these Americans with much-needed healthcare, and it would allow these hospitals to remain open. Republicans have falsely criticized the Affordable Care Act for forcing people to change doctors, but their refusal to expand Medicaid is leaving Americans with no doctor at all.
Because of Republican governors and lawmakers, five million people are being denied health insurance, and facilities like this are being denied the income to keep their doors open. Americans deserve the health insurance that their tax dollars are paying for, and they need an emergency room that is less than thirty miles from their homes. It’s time for Republicans to expand Medicaid in every state, provide medical insurance to every American, and stop playing politics with people’s lives.