ATLANTA — Georgia Democrats are quickly seizing upon Wellstar’s sudden announcement it was closing Atlanta Medical Center as a top campaign issue in the November elections.
A group of Democrats led by gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams gathered across the street from AMC and blamed the closing on Republican Governor Brian Kemp and other Republicans’ refusal to fully expand Medicaid.
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“This is a solvable problem,” Abrams said. “But we cannot solve it with the person who created the problem. We all know that half of Georgia’s population lives in Metro Atlanta, and if this hospital closes, when this hospital closes, the people of Georgia are going to once again lose opportunity for health care, opportunity for jobs and opportunity for survival.
Abrams and other state Democrats have pushed for full Medicaid expansion for years.
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The Kemp Administration, though has long opposed fully expanding Medicaid, opting instead for waivers to expand it only in certain areas. They insist expanding Medicaid wouldn’t have made any difference to AMC.
“Wellstar has been abundantly clear that Medicaid expansion would not have prevented the AMC closure,” said Kemp Campaign Spokesperson Tate Mitchell. “But that doesn’t fit Stacey Abrams’ political narrative, so she’s falsely blaming Governor Kemp.”
Wellstar itself said that expanding Medicaid may have helped with AMC’s “sustainability,” but it would not have affected their decision to close down the hospital.
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