Healthcare should be streamlined, affordable, and available to everyone.
The reality is our market-based healthcare system might not survive the long-term economic impact of COVID-19, including the hardship of cyclical furloughs on healthcare workers and the growing numbers of people who are out of work with no health insurance. Since the onset of the virus, we have already lost another rural hospital in southwest Georgia.
With Congress failing to act on a national healthcare solution, there are multiple actions we can take at the state level. First, we can expand Medicaid up to 138% of the Federal Poverty level. This will bring a 90% match of federal dollars into Georgia’s economy — dollars that Georgia is already paying to the federal government, but not getting back. This money will bring people healthcare and jobs, especially needed in rural Georgia.
During the 2020 session, through the efforts of the Legislative Women’s Caucus which I co-chair, we succeeded in expanding Medicaid for mothers of newborns, allowing them to continue their Medicaid coverage for six months postpartum, rather than six weeks. Georgia ranks last in the nation for maternal mortality, and Black women are four times more likely to die as a result of childbirth than white women.
In addition to Medicaid, I filed legislation to create a Medicaid Public Option, modeled after the successful “PeachCare for Kids” program. This will allow anyone, no matter their income level, to purchase a “PeachCare” policy at the same cost it takes the state to provide the healthcare benefits. This additional choice, available to those not happy with their private, employer-based plans, brings competition to the healthcare market, potentially reigning in costs of other private market health plans.
I will fight to expand Medicaid in Georgia and push for the state to provide a Public Option for healthcare.