Governor Deal: stop obstruction, and implement the Affordable Care Act
The following is a letter which I wrote on July 1st, and sent by mail directly to Georgia’s governor, Nathan Deal. I am publishing it online to go hand-in-hand with my recent petition about the same issue. It is slightly edited, in addition to including linked citations.
I hope that Democrats and proud centrist Georgians will join me in this appeal. Please co-sign my petition, write your own letters to the governor, and write to your local newspaper. – JII
Governor Nathan Deal
The Office of the Governor
206 Washington St
Suite 203, State Capitol
Atlanta GA 30334
Please allow me an introduction as direct background for my important letter. My ancestor, Henry Irby, was responsible for the establishment of Irbyville, now Buckhead. Several generations of my family have lived in the neighborhood inside the Atlanta perimeter where I now live. In addition, I travel all over the state frequently, and also extol its numerous virtues to non-Georgians. In short: it would be difficult to find someone who is a prouder resident inside the Atlanta perimeter, and a prouder Georgian.
Unfortunately, I write you today with the most profound disappointment I’ve had in a governor’s leadership in years. I find your stated opposition to the state-level implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to be unconscionable.
As you well know, we live in a region rife with opposition for the PPACA. Florida’s governor Rick Scott has yesterday stated he has no intention of complying with the Act. Louisiana’s governor Bobby Jindal earlier said the same.
Florida and Louisiana can act as they wish. I expect better from the state of Georgia, and I would love for these expectations to be secure. Unfortunately, I am now exposed to your own anti-progress rhetoric, including the following:
Congress must now work steadfastly on repealing this law and replacing it with reforms that help taxpayers instead of hurt them.
We are probably just going to be in a holding pattern until such time as we see what the events of November bring us.
Governor, you and I both know that the provisions our state must implement are actually matters of simple common sense. First, we must expand an existing program, Medicaid, to cover even more of our state’s poorest citizens. Second, we must implement a healthcare exchange, an absolutely outstanding idea for helping Georgia citizens purchase private insurance in a competitive, free-market way. I should note that this was a good idea under Republican governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, and it’s still a good idea now.
I am a centrist who is willing to accept good ideas from either party. What I will not tolerate is lies about an Act that does have “reforms that help taxpayers.” These falsehoods are abhorrent when a minimum of 600,000 of my fellow Georgians would be positively impacted by the Act. Your statements and actions directly stating otherwise do not constitute leadership. Neither does inaction as an effort to appeal to the radical right wing of your party. This is the basest partisan trash, and it should have no place on the agenda of the governor of one of the greatest states in the Union.
Governor, I plead with you to change course immediately. Show some initiative that will reflect positively on Georgia. Stop behavior which keeps citizens in the dark and works directly against their own best interests. As this state’s highest official, you should be ashamed to embrace that behavior. Instead, imagine the positive outcome when our neighbors and other states watch Georgia successfully implement the PPACA reforms.
My wife and I have always envisioned having our home in Georgia for the rest of our lives. I must tell you without hyperbole, governor Deal, that I am beginning to wonder whether this is really the place for centrists like us. Do you want to drive moderates away from Georgia and the south, to states that do implement the best reforms in the PPACA model?
I assure you that adopting the methods of governors Jindal and Scott will lead to a weakened South. Do not let this happen to Georgia. At one time, Atlanta was unarguably the “capitol of the New South.” You can now be the leader who ensures that our state is the gateway to a truly New South.