— Press Release

NEW VIDEO: Abrams for Governor Details How Medicaid Expansion Will Benefit All Georgians 

ATLANTA – Today, Abrams for Governor released a new video that describes the Medicaid program and details how expanding Medicaid will benefit the state of Georgia. 

In the video, Stacey Abrams explains that expanding Medicaid in the state of Georgia will provide more than 500,000 Georgians access to affordable health care, lower the cost of care, create 64,000 jobs across the state, improve access to mental health support and save rural hospitals. 

“Medicaid expansion is a clear solution that has worked in 38 states and will work in Georgia, too,” Abrams says in the video. “As Governor, I will expand Medicaid and work every day to make sure Georgians have access to the affordable health care they need, protect and grow Georgia jobs, and build an economy where every Georgian has the opportunity to thrive.”

You can watch the full Medicaid video here.

Script:

ABRAMS: You’ve probably heard me speak about expanding Medicaid in the state of Georgia. It’s true, I talk about it quite a bit. Medicaid expansion benefits everyone – even Georgians with private or employer-based health care. Expansion will create 64,000 jobs across our state and help save our hospitals from closing. All while reducing the costs passed on when uninsured people seek care they need, but can’t afford. And, of course, it would provide more than half a million Georgians with access to affordable health care.

SECOND CHARACTER: That sounds great. But what is Medicaid?

ABRAMS: Ah, thanks for asking! Medicaid is a public health insurance program that helps make sure people with lower incomes can access affordable health care. It also covers many pregnant women, children, people with disabilities, and it provides long-term care for low-income seniors.

But in Georgia, for working-age adults without kids, you’re on your own. If you make minimum wage without health insurance at work, you’re left out. Or if you’re taking care of a loved one, you don’t qualify. That’s part of the reason we have the second-highest rate of people without health insurance in the nation.

Expanding Medicaid would mean that more than half a million Georgians will be able to access affordable health care… It would mean a lot fewer folks using the emergency room because they don’t have anywhere else to go to access care… And it would reduce the number of patients who cannot pay, which helps hospitals stay open and can keep costs from being passed on to other people.… 

Medicaid also helps people get and stay healthier because it allows regular wellness checks so doctors can detect problems early on. Take heart disease for example. Early detection and care means a person can access heart medication now and have a much better chance of avoiding a more expensive and potentially deadly heart attack or other complications later.

And expanding Medicaid won’t only provide more Georgians with access to health care…

It helps create the infrastructure to attract more businesses and jobs to Georgia, especially rural Georgia.

Now, how does health care access attract business? It’s simple: No one is going to build a factory or a business where, if a worker gets hurt, they can’t get help.

More people getting help early…. keeping hospitals open… allows businesses to grow and communities to prosper, especially in rural Georgia.

The other way expanding Medicaid helps communities is by bringing down the cost of uncompensated care. Now, uncompensated care is just a fancy way to say that when someone shows up in the emergency room and is treated but cannot pay, our tax dollars pay most of the bill. Hospitals eat some of those costs too, which places additional strain on our rural health care providers and our city facilities too. Uncompensated care in Georgia is about $2.7 billion every year.

When we expand Medicaid and reduce the number of uninsured Georgians, those costs will go down… way down. And this isn’t a guess or wishful thinking. It’s actually worked in other states for years.  

Freeing up those funds AND bringing more investment to every corner of our state means more money for schools, roads, bridges, and broadband access… and better-funded local services like first responders…

Now, let’s talk about mental health. Too often, our local law enforcement is providing mental health services. If we expand Medicaid, more people will have access to mental health care AND demand for mental health professionals will go up, increasing job opportunities. Instead of putting sick people in jail, law enforcement could get folks the mental health treatment and support they need and focus on public safety. Families could get substance abuse treatment for loved ones, and Georgia can attract more mental health providers for our schools and communities.

SECOND CHARACTER: That sounds great and all, but where does the money to expand Medicaid come from?

ABRAMS: Believe it or not, if you’ve ever paid federal taxes (and most of us have), you’ve already paid for Medicaid expansion. 

For the last ten years, your tax dollars have been going to states that have already expanded Medicaid… states like Kentucky, California, Indiana, Ohio, Louisiana, and thirty-three other states…states with both Republican and Democratic governors in charge…

Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, has the power to expand Medicaid, but he refuses to do it. That means Georgians’ tax dollars are used to lower the cost of care, create new jobs, keep hospitals open and provide access to coverage… in 38 states other than Georgia! 

Our tax dollars should be invested here, in Georgia.

Medicaid expansion is a clear solution that has worked in 38 states and will work in Georgia too. 

As Governor, I will expand Medicaid… and work every day to make sure Georgians have access to the affordable health care they need, protect and grow Georgia jobs, and build an economy where every Georgian has the opportunity to thrive.

###