Today, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams announced three proposals from her comprehensive plan to make sure Georgians can access quality, affordable health care in every region of the state.
As governor, Abrams said she will explore the creation of a Georgia Premium Stability Program which would control premiums and make sure coverage remains affordable for families in the state with private insurance. She also unveiled a plan to bring down Georgia’s infant and maternal mortality rates, and protect reproductive health care access for women, and reinforced her commitment to expand Medicaid, which would cover nearly 500,000 more Georgians, save rural hospitals, and generate 56,000 new jobs across the state.
“Access to health care is essential for all Georgians to have the freedom and opportunity to thrive,” said Abrams. “As governor, I will help nearly half-a-million uninsured Georgians get covered through expanding Medicaid, adding $8 million dollars a day to our state’s economy and keeping our rural hospitals open. I will also explore a Georgia Premium Stability Program through the Affordable Care Act so Georgians can afford their insurance, and I will expand access to essential health services for women.”
The lack of Medicaid expansion in Georgia has left the state with the third highest uninsured rate in the country. Abrams, who led the fight to expand Medicaid in the legislature, said she will make it a top focus as governor. According to her plan, Medicaid expansion will cover almost half-a-million Georgians and draw $3 billion annually ($8 million per day) into our state to pay for doctors, nurses, and hospitals; and will create 56,000 jobs — 60 percent of which will be outside of Metro Atlanta. It will grow local economies, reduce uncompensated care that drives up costs for all Georgians, benefit employers thanks to healthier workers, and save rural hospitals from closure. And that only scratches the surface of the benefits of Medicaid expansion.
After Medicaid expansion closes the coverage gap, Georgians may still be vulnerable to losing health insurance due to rises in the cost of premiums. Georgia’s premiums have risen by 50 percent in recent years, and our state leaders must be innovative to stop these skyrocketing costs for self-employed Georgians. The Affordable Care Act allows for federal 1332 State Innovation Waivers so states can explore flexibilities to increase health care access and combat rising premiums. A handful of states are already using such flexibilities to create reinsurance programs, offering stability for premiums in the individual market by leveraging federal dollars to cover some costs for high-cost conditions. Similar programs have already reduced premiums in Alaska and Minnesota. Additionally, expanding Medicaid would help lower premiums for all Georgians: research shows that Medicaid expansion can lower average monthly premiums in the private individual market by 7 to 11 percent.
As governor, Abrams promises to:
- Expand Medicaid. Abrams will fulfill her longtime goal of expanding Medicaid for Georgians in every region of our state, leading to lower rates of uninsured citizens, major employment gains, and drastic help for rural areas.
- Protect the Affordable Care Act. She will protect the ACA provisions that ensure no Georgian can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition like asthma, cancer and diabetes.
- Explore creating a Georgia Premium Stability Program. Abrams’ administration will explore a federal 1332 State Innovation Waiver to create the Georgia Premium Stability Program, which would build on the ACA and keep more money in the pockets of Georgians by reducing vulnerability to loss of health insurance due to a rise in premiums.
- Address Georgia’s high maternal and infant mortality rates. Funding rural hospitals via Medicaid expansion is a crucial first step in addressing this issue. Abrams will also leverage state and federal programs to incentivize more doctors and medical personnel to work in under-served areas and reduce our maternal and infant mortality rates. She will also expand support for telehealth and home visiting programs so pregnant women can more easily access specialists.
- Protect reproductive health care access. Stacey Abrams helped lead the fight to protect reproductive health care access in the Georgia House and will continue to stand firm for reproductive rights as governor, including standing against TRAP legislation.