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Fulton County May be Forced to Raise Property Taxes as Hospital Closure Increases Stress on Grady Memorial Hospital
As the Peach State faces a health care crisis exacerbated by Gov. Brian Kemp’s refusal to expand Medicaid, Georgians could be facing higher property taxes as a result. The Atlanta Medical Center’s closing will cause additional stress to be placed on Grady Memorial Hospital as patients seek care, and Fulton County could have to raise property taxes to cover the rising expenses caused by the increased need for care.
Today, Gov. Kemp is expected to announce a one-time cash infusion to support Grady Memorial Hospital, which now “may be on life support” with the closure of Atlanta Medical Center. The package, funded by Democrats’ American Rescue Plan (which Kemp opposed) is a short-term, one-time relief effort that won’t fix Georgia’s health care crisis as the governor remains opposed to expanding Medicaid. Medicaid expansion would provide crucial federal funds for struggling hospitals, create over 64,000 jobs, provide over 500,000 Georgians access to affordable health care, and lower health care costs for everyone, including those with private insurance.
Potential Tax Raise: The median property tax in Fulton County for a home with the median value of $253,100 is $2,733. It would take 5.7 mills to raise the $420 million mentioned in the Fulton County memo. An increase of 5.7 mills to raise the necessary funds for Grady Memorial Hospital would result in a property tax increase of $1,760 (64% of $2,733) on a home with a median value of $253,100. Fulton County already discussed this plan when the Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center South announced its closure in April.
When the Atlanta Medical Center closes, Grady Memorial Hospital will be the only Level 1 trauma center in both Atlanta and the entire North Georgia region — the second closest level 1 trauma center to Atlanta is Atrium Navicent Health in Macon, 85 miles away from Grady. This means Grady Memorial Hospital could be inundated by Georgians injured by gun violence, car accidents, and other trauma wounds — the availability of care in Atlanta and the distance they’d have to travel to Macon could mean the difference between life and death for many.
Reactions to Kemp’s Health Care Crisis from Democratic Leaders:
“Brian Kemp and Republicans’ cruel refusal to expand Medicaid is blocking a vital lifeline to hospitals and keeping half a million Georgians from accessing quality health coverage. Kemp’s decision to put politics over Georgians’ health care is decimating our struggling hospitals and costing people their jobs. With Kemp’s health care crisis, we’re facing an astronomically high uninsured rate, hospitals closing, and our health care infrastructure on the brink — it’s urgent that Georgia finally and fully expand Medicaid,” stated Congresswoman Nikema Williams, Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia.
“Georgia is facing a dire health care emergency that could have been largely avoided if Republicans in our state had expanded Medicaid like 38 other red, blue, and purple states already have. Leaving Atlanta and the entire North region of Georgia with just one level-1 trauma center is a five-alarm fire — and Brian Kemp’s response amounts to a band-aid on a crisis of his own creation. Georgia needs a governor who will invest in our communities’ health and economies before crises occur – and we need leaders at all levels of government who will help get Medicaid expansion over the finish line,” asserted Charlie Bailey, Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor.
“While Republicans like Brian Kemp and my opponent Chris Carr waste taxpayer dollars fighting in court to undermine Georgians’ health care, our state’s hospitals are shutting down. Every Republican who has opposed full Medicaid expansion bears responsibility for Georgia’s health care crisis, which has seen six hospitals close in the last three years and hundreds of thousands of our neighbors continue to go without coverage. Georgia deserves leaders who will do the right thing and expand Medicaid – for our people, our hospitals, and our communities,” said State Senator Jen Jordan, Democratic nominee for Attorney General
“Hospitals don’t just save lives – they’re crucial to local economies and act as major job hubs. The impact of AMC’s closure is deeply problematic — working families rely on its services and those employees will be out of work, just before the holiday season. Medicaid expansion would be a massive economic boon, creating an estimated 64,300 jobs across Georgia and protecting jobs that already exist in our healthcare sector. We must elect pro-healthcare, pro-worker Democrats who will fight to save our hospitals and healthcare sector jobs that support local economies throughout Georgia,” said State Rep. William Boddie, Democratic nominee for Labor Commissioner.
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