Call Comes After New Report Outlines Urgent Need for Federal Approach to Provide Relief to Millions of People Who Have Been Locked Out of Coverage
Atlanta, GA — Today, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) joined Georgia health care advocates and storytellers and Protect Our Care to discuss the Medicaid Saves Lives Act — the Senator’s historic legislation to create a federal program to extend coverage to millions of people stuck in the coverage gap in states that have refused Medicaid expansion.
An estimated four million uninsured adults could gain coverage if the remaining holdout states adopted expansion. Importantly, people of color make up nearly 60 percent of this group. In Georgia, 275,000 adults in the coverage gap would be eligible for coverage through Medicaid expansion.
“Expanding Medicaid is the single most effective solution to closing our state’s coverage gap. I introduced the Medicaid Saves Lives Act to make this solution real,” said U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock. “Expanding Medicaid in Georgia would extend health care coverage to nearly 500,000 low income Georgians, improve health outcomes, create tens of thousands of jobs, and bolster our rural hospitals. I’m going to keep pushing as hard as I can to pass this critical provision in the next economic package.”
“The Medicaid Saves Lives Act would build a bridge over the coverage gap, allowing 2.2 million Americans to newly and meaningfully take part in our health care system,” said Laura Colbert, the Executive Director, Georgians for a Healthy Future. “This move would reduce racial disparities in health care, prevent cancer deaths, improve maternal health outcomes, and strengthen economies across the South. All of these benefits will accrue to a greater extent in rural communities.”
“I am proud and thankful for Senator Warnock’s leadership in introducing the Medicaid Saves Lives Act. Closing the Medicaid coverage gap will profoundly improve health care access in this country, said Nedra Fortson, a nurse practitioner who runs a free health care clinic in Albany, Georgia. “At Samaritan Clinic, we have seen these Coverage Gap scenarios play out over the past 14 years, but the Medicaid Saves Lives Act gives me hope that soon our communities will be able to expand the health care access that we desperately need.”
“Waiting for Georgia and the eleven other states that have refused to expand Medicaid to do the right thing is no longer a viable option,” said Protect Our Care Georgia State Director Joe Binns. “Senator Warnock and Congressional Democrats are stepping up to the plate, and leading with a bold new approach for the federal government to close the expansion gap, and Congress must take action now to make it a reality. Georgians, and millions of uninsured people across the country have waited long enough.”
You can listen to the call audio here, and learn more about how the Medicaid program can save lives and improve health outcomes in Georgia by reading this new report from Protect Our Care.