Under Kemp, 6 Hospitals Have Closed and 70% of Georgians are Struggling With Health Care Costs
As another Georgia hospital closes, Gov. Brian Kemp is doubling down on his stubborn refusal to expand Medicaid — which prevents billions in federal funds from coming to our state to help support struggling hospitals and which blocks hundreds of thousands of Georgians from accessing affordable health care. Kemp remains opposed to Medicaid expansion, instead pushing a restrictive and narrow plan that would cover far fewer Georgians, cost more than actual Medicaid expansion during the first year, and lead to tens of thousands losing coverage.
A recent statement from the governor’s spokesperson stated he would continue to build on policies that “have grown access to quality healthcare while bringing down costs,” but under Kemp, 70% of Georgians report struggling with health care and our uninsured rate is the 2nd highest in the nation at 14.5%.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks in Atlanta on April 1.Alyssa Pointer / Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP
The governor’s opposition to Medicaid expansion is purely political — 38 states, including many under Republican governors, and Washington D.C., have expanded Medicaid. Earlier this year, Kemp campaigned with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Mike Pence, who both expanded Medicaid during their terms as governor.
“As another hospital closes — the sixth hospital to close during his time as governor — Brian Kemp remains opposed to expanding Medicaid, reaffirming his cruel commitment to blocking a lifeline for struggling hospitals and denying health coverage to half a million Georgians. Most Georgians are struggling to afford health care and our hospitals are closing, but Kemp refuses to take responsibility and refuses to use the billions in funds provided by Democrats to do the right thing and expand Medicaid,” asserted Max Flugrath, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia.
The facts on Medicaid expansion:
- Medicaid expansion would provide crucial funds for struggling hospitals. With 9 rural hospitals closing since 2010, including 2 which closed during the pandemic, Georgia ranks 6th in states with most rural hospital closures and is the 3rd worst for rural hospital stability. 19 rural hospitals are currently at risk of closing.
- Expanding Medicaid would provide over 500,000 Georgians with access to affordable health care and help the state save on uncompensated care costs, which in 2019 alone cost Georgia hospitals $2.7 billion — including $915 million just last year reported by Wellstar.
- Medicaid expansion would be the single largest economic development initiative in Georgia’s history, creating over 64,000 jobs, including 28,800 in health care, 4,900 in construction, 6,500 in retail, 2,000 in finance and insurance, and 21,900 in additional sectors.
- Georgia is one of only 12 states that has refused to expand Medicaid. More than 1.5 million Georgians lack health insurance coverage and our uninsured rate is the 2nd highest in the nation at 14.5%.
- The refusal to expand Medicaid has led to Georgia missing out on $21 billion in federal health care funds. Our tax dollars are going to other states to cover other Americans whose governors aren’t putting politics over people’s lives.
- Medicaid expansion would not make anyone ineligible for private insurance. Expansion reduces health care costs across the board, including for those with private insurance who are unlikely to ever need Medicaid coverage.
Read more about the positive impact Medicaid expansion would have on Georgia’s rural communities, Georgians’ health outcomes, the state’s uninsured rate, and Georgia’s economy.
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