As the retired President of the national advocacy organization, Black Women’s Health Imperative, I’ve spent most of my career focused on reducing barriers to health care access and improving health outcomes for women and communities of color. I’m very aware that the challenges we face around the country in improving access to healthcare and women’s health are significant, but they’re especially daunting here in Georgia.
In fact, I would say we are in the midst of a health care crisis.
For example, Georgia’s maternal mortality rate—that is, women who do not survive the process of childbirth—is amongst the highest in the country, and more black women die here during childbirth than anywhere else. Making care even more out of reach, half of our counties don’t even have an OB-GYN, and we saw an increase in the uninsured last year. The tragic outcome is women aren’t able to access the care and support they need to be healthy during pregnancy, have healthy babies, and live healthy lives.
The good news is there is hope on the horizon.
After hearing Stacey Abrams speak last year and looking into her comprehensive health care platform, I became convinced that she really cares and understands what is needed to fix Georgia’s healthcare system. Stacey has a vision for making Georgia a leader in the South.
One of the very first things she’ll do is to work to expand Medicaid for 500,000 more Georgians who desperately need it. This is essential. Thirty-three other states have expanded Medicaid because it’s the smart thing to do, while in Georgia, our republican leadership has flat-out refused. The result? We rank amongst the lowest in the entire country in meeting many of our citizens’ health care needs.
Her vision is one that transcends partisanship, income, ethnicity, race and geographic boundaries. Once Stacey is Governor and we expand Medicaid, we’ll add $8 million every day into Georgia’s economy—that is $3 billion each year. We will create more than 50,000 jobs, most of them outside of metro Atlanta. And we will give rural hospitals an influx of funding, so they can provide the best medical professionals and resources possible to give the most residents the best care possible.
Stacey understands the fundamental truth that health care must always be local and that a culture of accessible quality health care in all communities, including rural, must be created and supported. When a rural hospital closes, it is often devastating to the surrounding community. Suddenly, people who are elderly, sick, or facing an emergency might need to drive over one-hour to see a doctor. Working adults may be unable to find time for a regular checkup. The companies and businesses that once considered opening in that town could go elsewhere.
Brian Kemp does not have a health care plan, not for increasing health care access nor for supporting rural hospitals. Stacey will address these problems head-on, not only because she is a woman of deep integrity, with a commitment to faith and service, but also because as a tax lawyer, she specialized in hospitals and health care finance. She will implement achievable plans, such as the Georgia Premium Stability Program, for expanding and improving health care access while keeping our premiums down and avoiding spikes in the market.
In just a few days on November 6, you have the chance to vote for Stacey Abrams as our Governor. Better yet, why don’t you join me and vote early until November 2! Your vote could mean that Georgia finally has a governor that focuses on issues that families care about: affordable health care, quality public education, and creating jobs with livable wages.
Our families deserve and need Stacey Abrams, who will lead the way to for all of us to be healthier Georgians.