The healthcare debate can seem complicated, but it comes down to this:
No one should be poor because they’re sick, and no one should be sick because they’re poor. That’s why Sarah believes that quality, affordable health care is a human right, and no one in this country should go without treatment or access to the care they need.
Why does Sarah believe this?
- Stories from Georgians. Over the last three years, Sarah has traveled through more than 150 Georgia counties. She has met with Georgia families living without health insurance and spoken to Georgians who have lost a loved one due to the closure of the rural hospital in their town. Sarah has sat down with parents worried about how to access treatment for children with special needs. She has listened as Georgians shared their stories of surprise medical bills and denials of coverage. Simply put, Sarah knows the stakes.
- A heart for rural Georgia. There are wide swaths of Georgia—particularly in our rural areas—that lack medical specialists. This makes Georgia worse than the national average when it comes to needy areas short of primary health care providers. 60 of our 159 counties have no pediatrician, 76 counties have no obstetrician/gynecologist, and nine counties simply have no doctors at all. Eight rural hospitals have closed since 2013 and more continue to be at risk of closing, leaving tens of thousands of Georgians with dwindling access to healthcare. As someone who grew up in a rural community, Sarah understands that access to healthcare is essential to building both healthy families and healthy economies in our rural communities.
- Proven track-record. The daughter of a former NICU nurse—and a mom to two little girls—Sarah has been passionate about access to healthcare her whole life. As a business owner, Sarah led an initiative to provide 100% fully funded healthcare premiums to thousands of employees and their families. During the Great Recession, Sarah put her own money into her business to save jobs and healthcare coverage for her employees. As a candidate for statewide office, Sarah has campaigned consistently for more affordable and accessible healthcare for Georgians. She’s been an outspoken advocate on important issues including maternal health, reproductive justice, and full expansion of Medicaid in our state.
What healthcare policies will Sarah support and prioritize in the US Senate?
- Protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) made huge inroads to reforming our healthcare system, but the Trump administration has worked to dismantle the law entirely. Unchecked by Republicans like David Perdue, the Trump administration has supported a federal lawsuit to throw out the Affordable Care Act—including its protections for tens of millions of Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. In the U.S. Senate, Sarah will work to strengthen the ACA, ensure protections for Americans with pre-existing medical conditions, and restore federal funding to support the ACA exchanges that provide healthcare to more than 20 million Americans.
- Expand Medicaid. Sarah supports expanding the safety net provided by Medicaid, which ensures poor and low-income Americans have access to health insurance.
- Lower the age to qualify for Medicare. Lowering the age for Medicare eligibility would introduce a younger, frequently healthier population into the popular insurance program for America’s seniors. This would drive cost efficiencies and expand the safety net for America’s retirees.
- Create a public option. Allowing Americans to buy into Medicare or Medicaid can introduce stabilizing revenue into these public insurance programs, increase price competition in the private insurance markets, and provide more Americans with healthcare coverage. A public option would increase competition—and lower prices—for private insurance. The public option would also uncouple health insurance from employment for millions of Americans, enabling workers in the gig economy to access stable, quality health insurance. Allowing Americans to keep their private insurance if they choose to, while providing a viable public option alternative, is the next step to creating better health outcomes for lower costs in America’s healthcare system.
- But does Sarah support “Medicare for All”? Sarah will support the best policy to ensure every American is covered. Americans need increased coverage now, and a public option is the fastest, most efficient way to rapidly increase the number of insured Americans. Sarah also supports dramatically expanding the safety net, increasing the number of families eligible for Medicaid, and lowering the qualifying age for Medicare.
- Prescription drug prices. Lowering prescription drug prices must be a priority in the U.S. Senate. Medicare and Medicaid should be allowed to negotiate for competitive prices—just as public health systems from around the world have done for years. Access to generic drugs for American consumers must be protected, and price gouging for life-saving drugs like insulin must be made illegal.
- Corporate accountability for the opioid crisis. Tackling health insurance is just part of the battle for quality, affordable health care. Sarah believes we have to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the devastation experienced by many families due to irresponsible and illegal off-label marketing of prescription drugs that fueled America’s opioid crisis. Settlements from these businesses should be used to pay for robust addiction treatment programs.