Last week Gov. Deal made official his position on the expansion of Medicaid in Georgia under the Affordable Care Act referred to by opponents as Obamacare. As soon as the news cycle with Deal’s position was complete, the spin began and oh the wailing and gnashing of teeth! Seniors and children are going to be thrown in the streets. Diabetics will lose limbs. Hospitals will be forced to close their doors. And on and on. All because of the supposed evil being perpetrated upon the citizens of Georgia.
So how is it that Congress can pass such a sweeping law and Gov. Deal simply decides that Georgia would not participate you might ask? Simply put: the Supreme Court of the United States said he could. In the ruling earlier this year upholding the Affordable Care Act based on the Congress’ taxation powers, Chief Justice John Roberts also said the federal government can offer more funding to states for the purpose of expanding Medicaid but could not punish states that opt not to participate in the program by withholding existing funds (see page 5 of the ACA ruling). Georgia joins a growing list of states that have already announced they too will not participate in this expansion of Medicaid due to budget concerns.
Governing is about making choices and Gov. Deal is doing what he believes is best for our state as a whole. If you have been caught up in the hype, relax. Nothing has changed and no, the sky is not falling. The same programs that have been there for decades remain in place. Nobody is being thrown out in the streets. However, about 1 in 5 Georgians will remain without health insurance. This fact remains regardless of the spin coming from those who support the governor’s decision.
What kind of people are these? What of their compassion for the poor and underprivileged among us? What indeed! Let me ask a question: why are we counting on government to assist the needy among us? Do you know how many charitable organizations there are in Cobb and Cherokee Counties that are trying to fill that gap? Don’t take my word for it (go check for yourself) but I can tell you that are a lot of them. Good men and women with the courage of their convictions trying to make a difference.
Now, let me take this a step closer to home. How many in our pews are giving to charity? I’m not just talking about your church either. When was the last time you supported one of the fantastic charities here in Cobb and/or Cherokee County? Cobb Pregnancy Services, Tommy Nobis Center, The HopeQuest Ministry Group, and MUST Ministries (Cobb & Cherokee) to name only a few all need financial assistance. Here’s the kicker: they need volunteers too!
Well, I am calling out my fellow Christians on this one. When was the last time you volunteered to serve others in your community? Again, I’m not just talking about your local church though I will say far too many congregations are inward focused rather than focused on reaching the community with the Good News (in my opinion). I am talking about us individually. Writing checks is goo but giving a few hours a month is better! Regardless of what you may think of Gov. Deal’s decision, people of faith can make a difference in the lives of those among us in need. That is, if we are willing to do so. Are you?
Christopher is a recent graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary of Liberty University where he earned the Master of Religious Education. He also holds MBA Finance and BS Management degrees. A former resident of Powder Springs, Christopher and his family now reside in Woodstock. Having enthusiastically embraced social media in 2007, he blogs regularly at www.chris-sanchez.com and is very active on both Facebook and Twitter.