When it comes to expanding access to health care, gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp could not be further apart.
Although moves on the federal level last year dampened the outlook for both the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, closing the coverage gap in Georgia would mean an additional 473,000 Georgians would have access to health insurance by 2019.
That’s 473,000 fewer people straining a health care system plagued by financial insecurity and rural hospital closures. That’s also 473,000 more people who will be able to access preventative health care screenings, afford monthly medications and manage chronic health conditions before they require a trip to the emergency room.
Rural communities have been some of the hardest hit by conservatives’ refusal to act on these issues; six rural hospitals have closed since 2013. In many rural areas, these facilities are the only place folks can go to access any kind of health care.
Not only is he against closing the coverage gap for the nearly half a million Georgians who still cannot access health insurance, but he wants to make sure that everyone who has been able to afford health care thanks to subsidies from the ACA are stripped of those benefits.
Kemp has also blamed the health care crisis on undocumented immigrants. Which leads me to ask: Brian Kemp, do you know what the word scapegoating means?
Kemp thinks we can fix the rural health care crisis solely by increasing access to broadband internet in rural communities and expanding an unproven tax credit scheme to increase funds for rural hospitals.
Meanwhile, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, has advocated for Medicaid expansion since her time as Minority Leader in the state House of Representatives. Even better, her support for both the ACA and Medicaid expansion are rooted in the facts of this issue.
Georgia still has one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, with more than 1 in 7 adults lacking health care coverage.
“Medicaid expansion will draw $3 billion annually ($8 million per day) into our state to pay for doctors, nurses, and hospitals. It will create 56,000 jobs — 60% of which will be outside of metro Atlanta,” Abrams recently told Georgia Health News.
That is a fact.
“68% of rural Georgians report that they struggle with the cost of health care, and six rural hospitals have closed since 2013, crippling local economies,” Abrams also said. “Medicaid expansion would expand health care access for rural Georgians, keep vulnerable rural hospitals open, and create many high-paying jobs in rural regions of our state.”
Again, also facts.
One of these candidates will be the next governor of Georgia. Who do you want it to be?