Georgia GOP Lawmaker: Blocking Medicaid Expansion ‘Is Hurting Our State’

A Republican state legislator in Georgia has separated himself from his party’s opposition to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion there, arguing that its position “is hurting our state.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on the comments that Sen. Chuck Hufstetler made Tuesday on the Senate floor. They came during debate of a bill that would require the state legislature to approve expansion of Medicaid, rather than risk Republican Gov. Nathan Deal having a change of heart and expanding the program independent of the General Assembly.

Hufstetler criticized his colleagues for not holding hearings on Medicaid expansion and argued that the state was losing money in multiple ways by declining the federal funding that comes with Medicaid expansion.

“I believe this transfer of wealth is going to hurt Georgia,” he said. “Our stance is hurting our state, but we’re not lowering the federal deficit.”

He also warned of the electoral implications of the Republican position.

“I am concerned that my party is going to lose thousands of health care workers and independent voters over this,” Hufstetler said. “The majority of Georgians do oppose Obamacare, but six out of 10 believe we ought to expand Medicaid.”

“There is a difference between the two.”

He voted against the bill, the only Republican to do so, but it passed the Senate 35 to 19.

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