As a Nurse Practitioner and a COVID-19 responder, I know firsthand that healthcare in Georgia is in crisis.
- Georgia has the third worst rate of residents without medical insurance in the country.
- Georgia is ranked 48th out of 50 states in women’s health.
- More than half the counties in Georgia have no Obstetrics or Gynecology professionals.
- Maternal deaths have increased by more than 40% in recent years, 60% of which are preventable.
- White women die while pregnant at twice the national average and black women die while pregnant at six times the national average.
- Seven rural hospitals have closed since Governor Kemp has come into office.
For a government that spends so much time interfering with and legislating women’s health, this is a pitiful record. All of this death and suffering could easily have been avoided if we had expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. This death and disability costs our state in lost productivity, increased medical costs, family destruction, and bankruptcies. If we, as a community, cannot take care of the weakest and most vulnerable, why would anyone want to move to, work with, or invest in Georgia? I will apply my decades of experience in the medical field to solving the healthcare crisis in Georgia.
Now, on top of this already failing health system, we have COVID-19, a completely predictable pandemic. Georgia was woefully unprepared. The Kemp government’s and Republican legislature’s responses have been dangerously inept to the point of criminal negligence. Many Georgians have died and will die unnecessarily. This is a real crisis and we must replace the gamesmanship and pettiness on display in our state government with real, informed, and serious leadership.
We can and must do better. This state of affairs did not come about overnight and will not be reversed quickly. However, Medicaid expansion, improved access to care for women and children, removal of restrictions and interference with women’s health, emphasis and attention to improved rural health, and an expanded, well-funded Department of Public Health will be an excellent start. The Republican majority in the legislature and the Kemp administration have presided over the worst healthcare available in the US and are tragically responsible for unnecessary death and suffering.
Fred Rovner graduated from Georgia State University with a Master of Science in 1997. He has served as a Nurse Practitioner ever since, providing care in prisons, Emergency Rooms, and family practice. In 2020, he has refocused his practice on COVID-19 community response.