Much has been written about how hospitals in those 21 states are struggling, especially in rural areas. In rural Tennessee, hospitals have cut employees and services, while rural Georgia blames the loss of three rural hospitals and the potential to lose 15 more on the lack of expanded Medicaid. Rep. Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, told Jonathan Shapiro of Atlanta's WABE-FM, “There are some of those rural hospitals that need to close,” because they have so few patients.
UPDATE: Cooper "said Wednesday that closing rural hospitals is an 'unthinkable proposition' and 'would have serious consequences on the affected community, hurting it economically and limiting access to acute care for Georgians'," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Sen. Dean Burke (R-Ga.), a physician, disagrees, telling Capelouto: "Increasing Medicaid doesn't necessarily make things better. You know, we need to increase jobs so that we get more people with regular insurance. And that will be where we can make a difference." But it's hard to rely on new jobs in areas that can't keep the existing ones, as Maggie Elehwany of the National Rural Health Association told Capelouto: "The poorest areas in this country in the Deep South, in Appalachia, in certain pockets in the west, boy, a lot of those—really a tremendous amount of those—are the states that are opting not to expand Medicaid." (Read more) (Advisory Board Council graphic: Information as of Dec. 20, 2013)