Your opinion: Nov. 7, 2018

Published 11:23 am Wednesday, November 7, 2018

State needs to expand Medicare
Rural Georgia is in the midst of one of the worst health care crises in the nation. Eight rural hospitals have shut down since 2013, and more than half of those still open are financially vulnerable to closure. On top of this, we are among the bottom ten states when it comes to diabetes prevention, birth weights, and overall healthcare access. Our uninsured rate is 13.4%, the fourth worst in the nation. With challenges so vast, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing there must not be a good solution. In fact, there is one simple step that would go a long toward a solution: implementing Medicaid expansion. If Georgia expanded Medicaid, as 33 other states have already done, we would provide health coverage to almost 500,000 currently-uninsured Georgians. Georgia would get $3 billion in federal Medicaid funds per year — nearly $8 million per day. And the move is expected to provide more than 50,000 new jobs.
My late godmother put off getting medical care until she was eligible for Medicare, even with clear symptoms that something was terribly wrong. By the time she received treatment the cancer tumor had grown so much it was fused to her spine. She underwent several surgeries and spent a month in the hospital. Just from a fiscal point of view, how much did her wait cost us? Sometimes things aren’t as complicated as they seem. Georgia’s people deserve Medicaid expansion, for both our physical and fiscal health, and we should not fail to take this simple step any longer.
Laura McMaster DePaola, Ph.D.
Clinical psychologist

Thanks for all the support
We appreciate all the generosity from local organizations that raised money for #breastcancer during October. Ayden Battle, a local 7 year old, once again raised funds for local breast cancer patients. Ayden J’s Juice raised $300 in October and recently presented the check to the Phoebe Sumter Oncology & Hematology Clinic. The funds will go towards helping local breast cancer patients and their families.
Marcus Johnson
Director, Customer Service & Community Relations
Phoebe Sumter Medical Center