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Better Georgia: Governor Using Secret Funds Against Obamacare

Group accuses Gov. Nathan Deal of utilizing money contributed from healthcare corporations to Real PAC, to fund the fight against the Affordable Care Act.

Gov. Nathan Deal. Credit: Hunt Archbold
Gov. Nathan Deal. Credit: Hunt Archbold
By Hunt Archbold

The progressive advocacy group Better Georgia has charged the state’s governor with secretly using almost $1 million from a Republican action committee to fight Obamacare. 

The group accuses Gov. Nathan Deal of utilizing money contributed from healthcare corporations to Real PAC, to fund the fight against the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

In a post at the group’s website, Better Georgia Executive Director Bryan Long writes, “Instead of protecting the rights of Georgia residents under the new Affordable Care Act, Gov. Deal’s family and business associates have profited from a secret Super PAC funded largely by corporations and political action committees that either do business with the state or have a financial stake in legislation.” 

According to Real PAC’s disclosure forms, some of the biggest contributions came from the healthcare field, including United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and Wellcare of Georgia, each which contributed at least $20,000.

Deal’s attorney said the governor has done nothing wrong and labeled the allegation “ridiculous.” 

Long goes on to explain that through disclosure forms, financial contributions from the healthcare supported political action committee is possibly going to GOP members with the intent of influencing their votes on Obamacare or funneled to other areas such as a slush fund to pay family and friends.

Is Better Georgia onto something here, or is this a whole lot about nothing? Tell us in the comments.

Pam J September 06, 2013 at 02:23 PM
This is the problem since this state became Republican and we have a President that really is trying to help people. I know that it depends on where your life is as to whether you like or dislike Obamacare. I resent our Governor for blocking the health care exchange in Georgia. It just proves that he really does not care about people who are hurting. People that were valuable resources in the workforce and then lost their jobs through no fault of their own. People who cannot afford an individual health insurance policy. We are not talking about the "takers" here. We are talking about intelligent people who have been kicked to the curb and then under a bridge. People who are forced to take part-time minimum wage jobs just to make some money to eat. It matters whether or not Deal did what they say he did, but the sheer face that he is trying to block Obamacare is bad.
Pam J September 07, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Sheer face? Whoops, I forgot spell check. Yep, I am intelligent...
Octo Slash September 07, 2013 at 09:34 AM
This country is bankrupt. That's what being 16 TRILLION DOLLARS in debt means. It means you don't have enough money to pay for things. Obamacare will pretty much finish us off as a nation. I hope all you Obamacare lovers have LOTS of money and a wheelbarrow to carry it in when you head to the grocery store a couple years from now, because when the s*** hits the fan...AND IT WILL...that's what you're going to need to buy food: a wheelbarrow full of cash. You voted for it. You got it. Enjoy!
Pat Farrar September 07, 2013 at 10:04 AM
Well. he is a republican. Apparently that requires him to be an obstructionist and do mean and stupid things
Darren Wheeler September 07, 2013 at 10:54 AM
Rather than thinking based on emotion, think logically and ask how is Obamacare to be funded? It touts itself to provide "free" healthcare but there is no such thing as "free" healthcare. It may be "free" to some people, but rest assured that it is costing someone else a considerable amount of money. Coercion by way of government taxation is no way to provide charity. Add that to the fact that this is yet another federal government-ran program which will be ran poorly like are most all government programs. I've seen my health insurance premiums increase already by 90% and this increase in cost is a direct result of the gradual implementation of Obamacare. So, who's paying?
Pam J September 07, 2013 at 11:48 AM
If your premiums went up 90% because of Obamacare, you need to look into that because it isn't supposed to happen. One of my neighbors had the same problem and he asked his employer about it and they said they were just "preparing for the worst". One of the things the program is supposed to do is highlight the problems with insurance companies and outrageous charges by doctors and hospitals. If you have insurance, you probably don't question the charges, especially if you don't have to pay for them out of pocket. But we should question most charges. Any program worth having is not going to be easy to get started. And Obamacare does not mean "free" to most people (unless you hate Obama). If I could get a policy for half of what I am being quoted now, I could probably swing it. Unfortunately we live in a "all I care about is myself" world, with no regard for anyone else. If things stayed like they were, there would be a lot of people dying sooner than they should because they didn't have insurance. If you like that scenario, then you have a problem.
Darren Wheeler September 07, 2013 at 12:18 PM
I think by opposing a government-mandated and mismanaged takeover of healthcare IS caring for others. The quality of healthcare will regress if government takes it over. People try to argue that healthcare in Canada and/or European countries works very well. But that isn't exactly true as there are inherent delays in their programs which we don't have. Plus, what percentage of these countries' populations pay no taxes and rely on the government compared to that of the U.S.? The truth is coming home to roost in places like Germany where more and more of the population are not working and are paying no taxes. Again, nothing is "free," especially something like healthcare. People need to help others by way of charity, not by way of coercion via taxation. Government should be set to encourage that. There are certainly issues with insurance and overall healthcare costs. But a complete overhaul and government takeover is definitely not the way to fix it.
Pam J September 07, 2013 at 07:46 PM
The government isn't really taking over healthcare. If you already have private insurance, you will continue to do so. What this plan will do is make insurance more affordable for people who can't afford it as it is now. If your insurance went up too much, wait till we get some sort of health care exchange in this state and see if you can get it cheaper. I think that will force the insurance companies to play fair. Charity? I don't want charity. I want to pay my own way. I just need it to be affordable.
Darren Wheeler September 07, 2013 at 09:20 PM
I want it to be more affordable as well. But adding millions of people to a system of provided healthcare, at no cost, there is no way in any stretch of the imagination that everyone elses' insurance will become more affordable. Somebody has to pay for it. Countries like Canada and other countries with socialized medicine don't have the significant number of people who will get free healthcare as does the U.S. But their insurance premiums are still expensive. Wait and see how much ours go up. There is already information coming out, telling average expectations of how much insurance premiums will INCREASE from state to state, and you can pretty much rest assured that those numbers will fall short of how much they actually increase. As I said, previously, my premiums have increased 90% already, and I failed to mention that my deductibles also increased, significantly. Again, there is no such thing as "free" healthcare. Somebody pays for it.
Pam J September 07, 2013 at 10:22 PM
We'll just have to wait and see. But ask a college student how much they like being able to stay on their parent's policy and ask someone with a pre-existing condition that can now be covered. I have read articles that call the plan a monster and I have read articles that say it's nowhere near a monster. It just depends on which side of the fence you are on. I choose to look forward to getting a policy and you hate the plan. Let's just leave it at that.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino September 08, 2013 at 12:40 PM
Excuse me Octo Slash, Darren, and anyone else who believes this country is bankrupt and cannot afford healthcare for all...how can this country be bankrupt when corporations are making record profits and the rich are getting richer??? No, we are not bankrupt...there are plenty of resources except that greed and corruption and an inequitable system controlled by the same who hoard the wealth has these resources concentrated in the hands of a small percentage of the population. Don't believe for a minute the "corporate white speak" which says we are broke...that is just a diversionary tactic to blame the poor and middle class and government for the excesses and greed of the few. (And it is a sad joke that we are brainwashed to think that this country cannot afford healthcare for all.)
Darren Wheeler September 08, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Corporations having money and government having money are two completely different things. I agree that American corporations are making all-time record profits right now. But that is because they've closed down so many factories and eliminated millions of jobs here in the U.S. and moved them to other slave-wage-labor resource countries like Mexico, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, etc. But that doesn't mean that is a resource for paying for someone's healthcare, especially that of millions of people. That issue is a separate matter, that being a serious loss of American jobs. But how that is supposed to translate into government takeover of healthcare is a head-scratcher. Are you denying that our federal government (hint, the government who wants to control healthcare) is trillions upon trillions of dollars in debt? Still, aside from even that, giving healthcare to millions of people and not requiring them to pay for the service means that somebody else has to pay for it. Insurance premiums are high already and they are only going to continue to increase. If insurance is priced out of existence and we DO all fall under a fully-controlled, fully-managed, fully-ran government healthcare system, we will all be serious losers because of it. No longer will we have skilled doctors, surgeons, etc., but we'll have licensed butchers who bid the federal government's demands. But, interesting how you attempt to inject: 1. Race 2. Class ... into the conversation of healthcare.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino September 08, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Race and class have everything to do with this and every issue in this country. We are a plantation plutocracy and to think otherwise means that you have drunk the "corporate american white speak" kool-aid. The govt is supposed to be the people....but it is controlled by the same folk who control the corporations and wealth...so there really is little difference except that every once in a while the govt protects the little guy...especially the people of color....by doling out some crumbs and confronting some injustices...(but just enough to appease and distract the people for a while). I am a business consultant and have worked for most major corporations and they are chock full of inefficiencies, waste, corruption..which far dwarfs that of the federal government. The minor changes to healthcare in the Affordable Care Act are an example of the above....crumbs....but a step in the right direction. By the way, the whole world is in debt...and all major corporations file bankruptcy when they want to regroup...and so are many of the wealthy like Trump...but they are too big to fall or this whole ponzi scheme of a capitalist system will fall (which it will soon anyway because it is so rotten and unsustainable). The only people in debt who are pressured and made to feel guilty, practice austerity, etc.. are the poor and middle class. Imagine 20k children die every day while others live in luxury---inhuman and evil.
Greg September 09, 2013 at 06:00 AM
The government does not have their own money, it taken from the citizens and us who are paying taxes, and the people who are getting the new medical care, are not paying taxes anyway. Obamacare are raising your rates. I have family and friends in the insurance business, my own business, and have talked to insurance providers. Rates are rising because of this so called "affordable health care act". It is raising the rates on young Americans and since they are usually in good health and didn't use their insurance very often, their rates were low, now they are going to be paying higher rates to cover the 40 million people who did not have insurance. And those 40 million were getting taken care of with no cost to them before anyway. And who was paying for that? It costs a lot of money to cover those now and in the past that did not have insurance but went to the ER or Dr. and did not have the money to pay. I understand they need care, but it will NEVER be free, the hospitals or state had to pick up the cost. And yes, my premiums and deductibles have gone up. Is your current insurance paid by your employer, or most of your premium? Ask them why it is going up, they have been explained by their insurance company what is happening and where it is heading. There are evil rich people out there, but there are in the minority, most people are honest and have good intentions in business. If it was not for the good people, who would fund charities, the poor, the middle class? I don't think so. I have a hard time believing Richard is a business consultant, I would not want his way of thinking guiding my company with his thoughts and ideas. Wonder if he says that his clients are told they do not need to make a profit and should give all the investors money away. And if it wasn't for these profitable companies, he would not have a job.
Pam J September 09, 2013 at 11:03 AM
Let me ask this question - to all of you who are against Obamacare, do you have a better plan to take care of the millions of people who don't have insurance, or the money to buy a policy? Because, seriously, people will be dying sooner because they don't have insurance. But since we apparently aren't "productive" citizens, it won't matter.
Greg September 09, 2013 at 11:20 AM
Pam J, anytime the government puts a program into place it is not managed or run well and it always costs more than the private sector. And when the hundreds of other items that are in this Bill are slipped in that has nothing to do with healthcare, by the people that wrote it, I have a real problem with that. If there are 40 million people, which is probably a high number anyway, than let the government concentrate on those, not the rest of us that have insurance or make it too high for young people to buy. What have all of these people that "will be dying sooner" been doing to this point? Dying? I don't think so. They've been getting treated in hospitals and Dr's offices and telling them they have no money to pay. I have seen and heard this in the ER and my doctors office. It's been being paid by the hospitals that have to write it off if they cannot collect from Medicare, Medicaid, or elsewhere. That is why Governor Deal does not want to participate. This would put an enormous burden on the state's Medicaid program that we have to pay for in this state. It's the Fed's that want this, so let them pay for it from the entire country. I'm sorry if you think you're an "unproductive" citizen and only you can change that, but if you cannot afford insurance, I do understand that and it is getting very expensive and it will keep going up. I think we need to put together a big pool of the uninsured, just like the big companies and unions do, and fund it somehow with money that is already there in Medicare or cut all government programs by 10% (which they need to do that anyway) and put that money into healthcare.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino September 09, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Pam....you ask the million dollar question...the elephant in the room....there may be some "better" ideas, as Greg and others have proposed...however it took decades to get any healthcare reform passed so we have to first applaud, as you are doing, the fact that it was accomplished against all kinds of special interests who fought it and continue to do so, unit behind it, and then, as it is implemented and researched, make changes. But wasting all of this energy and resources fighting it after it is a done deal is just that: a massive waste of resources which could be put toward actually solving the problems (and is financed and manipulated by those with ulterior motives--not the welfare of the people). Also, Greg, that line regarding that all govt programs are not managed well or that the private sector somehow manages programs better is a load of bunk and what I call "corporate america white speak" (CAWS)....the private sector wastes billions more than the govt sector and is rife with corruption....privatization has not produced any efficiencies in any industry....plus the profit motive has already ruined the health care industry as well as just about every other facet of America and really has no place in health care. There are other models...in Canada, Europe and Latin America...which we can study and learn from (and will be forced to anyway because our ponzi scheme of a system will soon implode).
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino September 09, 2013 at 12:33 PM
Also, Greg and Darren:most of the arguments you use against Obamacare are worn out, unproven and unsubstantiated, and promulgated by those who have other agendas...again...all a manifestation of "corporate america white speak" brainwashing. HEALTHCARE FOR ALL IS AN ENTITLEMENT WHICH WE ARE ENTITLED TO!!! .....just as is decent housing, jobs,food, air and water.....It is high time that the "entitlements' for the wealthy and the corporations (yes, they are the biggest recipients of welfare and entitlements--the dirty secrets they hate to be discussed) be extended to the poor and middle class. (I know that the words "profits" and "sharing" don't go together well but we will have to learn how too.)
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino September 09, 2013 at 12:38 PM
By the way, I remind you that I work in and for all of these corporations, and I also consult for government, and the corporations are in worse condition in every respect that any government agency I have ever seen (including the IRS which we know has its problems). The big lie that is promoted is that somehow the private sector is better than the government...both are sick because both are part of this sick system where profit rules over humanity, and success is defined materially. Brace for a major correction...we are just witnessing the tremors...so it is time more than ever to unite and not fight over these things as that is what enables the status quo to remain in power.
Darren Wheeler September 09, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Richard, if business opposition to socialized medicine/healthcare is "corporate America white speak," then the true elephant in the room are words which the likes of Mao, Stalin, Lenin, etc. would be proud in saying that healthcare is an entitlement, and housing is an entitlement. Putting those on a parallel with air and water is downright laughable. No human being is to be FORCED to provide a service to another, which is the case in your assessment of every human on the planet being ENTITLED to healthcare. From where do you think healthcare comes, the unicorn tree? Healthcare is provided by a person, or persons, who put themselves through many years of study, and at great cost for which THEY paid, in order to be a doctor, nurse, etc. These entitled people of which you speak didn't pay for their education. So, why are they suddenly ENTITLED to the fruits of that person's labor? You should take a break from racializing pretty much everything. There are doctors of all races, cultures, etc., right here in the vile, racist U.S. of A. (according to your perverted view). How much do you charge corporations for your services? Are they not entitled to your labor, rather than having to pay you money? Are you greedy or something? Granted, there is a sickness which prevails in all aspects of life, right now, and that is greed. Corporate America is most certainly very greedy right now. But the same politicians who are pushing for socialized healthcare are the very same politicians who pushed through the removal of tariffs so that U.S. corporations could close countless factories and eliminate millions of jobs in the U.S., taking advantage of slave-wage labor in third world countries, while achieving a free path to import those goods into the world's largest consumer market. That is a problem in and of itself, as is the initiative to somehow make believe that healthcare can be made readily available free of charge, and it be of usable quality. The two are not the same, aside from the greed aspect. The status quo who are in power are those who want us all to be under their thumb, and they and the corporations are on the same side.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino September 09, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Darren....I see we agree on some points regarding our greed-based economic system....on the other points I do not advocate forced equality, or forced service, but forced equity...that is...a level playing field and reparations for hundreds of years of inequities (yes, mostly racial and economic/class based, so again, everything is "racialized" in this society, not by me, but by the very racist system) through an equitable tax system and other forms of non-violent legal redresses....just as is practiced in many of the countries I've mentioned (where, incidentally, the health care and overall happiness and well being, according to all research and indexes, is better...than in the U.S.). Doctors the world over earn the equivalent of school teachers and do not go into that noble profession to get wealthy but as a service to humanity. Again, our whole system here is backwards--profit is the motive and has no place in healthcare or any other human service. Health care professional are entitled to a living wage as are every other worker....definitely in different degrees and levels based on education, experience, etc....but certainly not the extremes of relative wealth and poverty we have today which is unfathomable and always results in the downfall of civilizations. As I said earlier, there are many workable models to study and adapt our system to which are far better than our capitalistic greed driven system, and I am happy to engage with anyone and any group that wishes to do so (we have non-partisan study groups and think-tanks here in Cobb on these issues). As for me, I have a family of ten which lives on less than a typical American family of four (as I have lived overseas and my wife is West Indian so we know how to live simply), hence I can charge relatively less for my services, and due to my extensive experience in troubleshooting corporate problems (before consulting I worked in middle management in several of the Fortune 100, including ATT, IBM and others) and my approach, which is "bringing dignity to management and marketing" and to all the people in the pipeline while still making a profit (socially responsible capitalism, of a sorts) I am in demand (even though many know my "politics" as I am both a writer and in the media often. You (and Greg and Pam here) appear to be thoughtful on these issues so I would like to invite you to one of our "thinktank" sessions where we try to get people of all viewpoints. If interested write me at pilgrim1@mindspring.com
Darren Wheeler September 09, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Richard, I don't disagree with you in that there are greedy people who do what they do simply for motivation toward profit, and more profit, etc. There are people on all sides of the political/social spectrum who knowingly and willfully take advantage of and hurt other people for personal gain. But we have to be realistic about expectations and where we determine value in the fruit of one's labor. There are differences in risks undertaken by a brain surgeon versus a math teacher. A brain surgeon requires far more education and takes far greater risks than does a math teacher. Therefore, a brain surgeon (and a family practitioner) rightfully deserves to be compensated accordingly. In the same light, we can easily think less of the person who just takes away everyone's garbage every day. But try not having your garbage removed and find out, quickly, how valuable is that person. We have to be sensible and fair and weigh things out. While we both agree that people do need to do more to help others (you and I included), the proverbial fork in the road where you and I part is where we determine how it shall be done. You choose a route of force and coercion where I choose a route of freedom and personal choice. I choose personal choice for a laundry list of reasons. But most importantly are those reasons of: 1. It genuinely IS personal choice as to whether or not you help another person. Nobody should ever be forced to be charitable, as that is a literal impossibility, "forced charity." Like "free" healthcare, no such thing exists. 2. Forcing people to help others will serve to do nothing but kill the quality of what it is with which you are doing something for someone else. Health care is the last place where you want to lessen the quality of service. If a doctor is forced to provide service for someone at low compensation, it is only a matter of time before you no longer see the most highly skilled of society going into the medical field because of the outrageous risks and stressful demands and the disproportionately-low compensation. Think about it, why kill yourself over being a doctor and the inherent demands when you can be an xyz and make just as much money, or enough money, and undergo far less stress and demands? But the key issue is choice versus coercion, which translates to freedom versus slavery. The very fabric of society MUST rest on that, otherwise we live under oppression, under a dictatorship, and we eliminate personal responsibility. We can NOT do that, otherwise the fabric of society comes unraveled (we're already seeing examples of that in some of what we have in place already). Thank you for your invitation. I will send you an email and we can discuss further.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino September 09, 2013 at 05:17 PM
While I agree that individuals may be greedy our system is set up to encourage greed and corruption and needs a complete overhaul. And, relating to the brain surgeon, as I said, I don't advocate absolute equality but equity and fair differences without extremes on both ends. And yes, though I would love for people to do so voluntarily it has to be enforced with "force"...the force of law and taxation to lessen the extremes. Without force of law, there would still be slavery, Jim Crow, child labor, etc etc..and if there wasn't a balance of power the states would take us back to the dark ages (I have spent many hours at state legislatures and it is a circus; I am all for decentralized and less govt but when we are more mature locally and stop basing our decisions on the old boy networks but on the real needs of all the people...that will take some time and education and re-education of the people...which is what we are trying to do locally and which I welcome your participation in and that of all thoughtful people who are willing to come together without recrimination and examine all of our past and present notions and practices. I look forward to further dialogue off line.
Darren Wheeler September 09, 2013 at 05:47 PM
The same people who abuse the system locally are no different than are the people who work at the national level. People are people, regardless of from which country one comes. Look at governments across the world, today, and throughout history. People impose their will on other people all across the annals of time. Giving the power to further impose their will on people at the national level via coercive taxes certainly is no remedy for what we fear might happen at a local or state level. The good ole' boy network exists at all levels. It is about people, not levels of government. People at the national level are of no higher caliber than are those at the state and local level. Those at the national level come from the same local communities as do those at the state level.
Greg September 10, 2013 at 01:13 PM
Richard, you are a TRUE socialist and maybe you would be a happier in Canada, Europe, and Latin America, because it does not sound like you are happy in the USA and the system we have here. I believe that you are an angry white person for whatever reason and just cannot get over your problem. And I am sure you'll say this is a worn out right wing statement but, "where in the Constitution does it say that we Americans are entitled to Healthcare". There are always going to be poor people, and that is a fact. How we help them is another task. Giving them everything that they want is not helping them with their needs. They need to learn how to not live off other people's work and money. Why do the poor need free cellphones, free rides to go shopping for clothes, and the rest.
Richard "the Equalizer" Pellegrino September 13, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Thanks for your compliment Greg :-) but I don't know that I am a 'true" socialist (whatever that means) as I believe in learning from and combining the best of all systems and worlds...including the systems of those regions and peoples you mention. And yes, I was much happier in terms of quality of life while living in other countries and came back here to help my motherland learn and adopt some of their best practices while retaining and furthering our cultural "unity in diversity"...which I believe is our greatest strength ! As for anger...yes, sometimes it has its place, but I prefer consultation to confrontation and the clash of ideas rather than people. (I must say, I do lose my temper when white folk try to speak authoritatively on subjects they have no clue on...like racial prejudice and racism, or on other countries and peoples they have never experienced. But my friends keep me straight and spiritual, as I learn from the example of perhaps the greatest American who ever lived, Dr. King, who led a revolution without firing a single shot.) The Constitution, which is not my bible but by the way is a living document and can be changed and/or interpreted , says in its preamble: WE the People of the United States, to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare....do ordain and establish this Constitution..." If domestic tranquility and general welfare doesn't include healthcare, housing, food, air and water then we speak completely different languages. Regarding your characterization of the poor, it appears that is an area where you have little experience, as I work and for the poor, as well as corporate executives, and I find little difference in the work ethic and effort of the two...the only difference is the level of opportunity and the playing field, and the rewards...which is certainly inequitable and unsustainable. In fact, this gap between the wealthy and the poor has and will almost certainly result in revolution if not addressed....so it is definitely in the best interest of the wealthy and the corporations to share more of their excessive profits in terms of living wages.

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