A poll of about 500 people, commissioned by Healthcare Georgia Foundation and conducted by a polling organization called Opinion Savvy, doesn't tell Georgians much we didn't already know. But it still draws attention back to a very real and chronic problem in the U.S., and especially in this area -- the crisis in rural health care affordability, quality and access.
The poll results were reported, appropriately, in the Albany Herald -- appropriately because southwest Georgia is one of the poorest parts of the country, and serves as a stark case in point for the literally life-and-death challenges some of our neighbors are facing.
Four rural hospitals have closed in Georgia in the last two and a half years. Because rural areas tend to be poorer, people are less likely to have health insurance, which means they are less likely to seek and receive preventive and/or maintenance care. Death rates for serious health problems like cancer, heart disease and diabetes are far higher. And because access to health care is more difficult and takes longer, health risks are higher.
More than two-thirds of the survey respondents listed cost as their biggest health care problem. More than three-fourths said a shortage of medical providers is a problem, and half said a clinic is what their community needs most.
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A full 40 percent of these rural respondents said they are or have been uninsured.
That's a problem for many of Georgia's approximately 2 million rural residents: Hospitals aren't getting additional money through the Affordable Care Act because the state has rejected Medicaid expansion.
The deplorable state of health care in rural Georgia didn't begin yesterday and won't be fixed tomorrow. But just saying no to ACA isn't good enough. If leaders in the state have a better plan -- or, for that matter, any plan at all -- let's hear it. Simply ignoring it is civic and moral malfeasance.
The fallout from Bill Cosby's expanding sex scandal has reached Georgia. This time the damage is not to one of the disgraced comedian's sexual "partners," but to a Georgia college for women.
Spelman College, a historically black school that is the alma mater of two of Cosby's daughters, has announced it is discontinuing an endowed professorship established by Cosby and his wife in 1988.
The college announced its decision in the wake of Cosby's testimony in a sexual assault lawsuit in which he acknowledged obtaining drugs to give women before sex.
Spelman is only the latest school to sever relations with Cosby. So not only does his story keep getting uglier, but in terms of its ripple effects on others, it also keeps getting sadder.