Jason Carter discusses rural hospitals in Montezuma | Community Spirit
State Sen. Jason Carter, the Democratic nominee for Governor against incumbent Republican Nathan Deal, made a stop in Montezuma to see the issues facing rural hospitals firsthand.
Carter toured Flint River Hospital which shut down its Emergency Room services last year amid funding issues. Since then, Macon County added around $400,000 to its budget to fund another EMS truck and more staff to handle longer transports to Americus or Perry.
Carter listened as state and local officials and community leaders all told him in a roundtable discussion that the closure has hurt their communities.
"We have waited for so long, the Governor's office and the state leadership that is currently there has waited so long to address this issue and waited frankly until an election year in order to truly confront the issues that we have with regard to healthcare in rural Georgia," Carter said.
Carter also criticized Gov. Deal's decision not to accept federal Medicaid expansion funds.
"9 million dollars a day in our tax dollars, the governor says we don't want them. We don't want them to help create jobs in rural Georgia and throughout our health system. We don't want them to help stabilize rural hospitals. That doesn't make sense to me. That doesn't make sense to many people in Georgia."
Carter pointed to other states like Arkansas that reached compromises on Medicaid expansion and says Georgia can do the same.
In response, the Deal campaign called the Arkansas model Carter was referring to as a "disaster." They also argued that expanding Medicaid in Georgia would increase entitlement spending and taken money away from other areas like education.
Carter and Deal will face off in the general election on November 4th.
Follow 13WMAZ's Tom George on Twitter @thetomgeorge.