Opinion: “The stakes couldn’t be higher” for health care in Georgia Senate runoffs

The Senate runoff elections in Georgia could have profound implications for health care in the state and beyond, according to a December 19, 2020 opinion piece in the Augusta Chronicle co-authored by Benjamin Sommers of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Sommers, Huntley Quelch Professor of Health Care Economics, and co-authors noted that if the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nearly half a million Georgians could lose their health insurance. The only fallback plan would be for Congress to pass new health care legislation, but, “unfortunately, the current leadership of the Senate has blocked any attempt to provide health care relief,” the authors wrote.

Congress could take other steps to make insurance more affordable for millions of Americans, particularly for those in states such as Georgia that haven’t expanded Medicaid under the ACA, the authors noted. For example, under a plan proposed by president-elect Joe Biden, there would be a new public insurance option for the more than 500,000 lower income uninsured Georgians who don’t qualify for Medicaid.

Changes proposed by Biden “could literally save lives,” the authors wrote. But these changes rely on Congress and the president working cooperatively. “Health care in Georgia—and the nation as a whole—is on the ballot in the January runoff,” they wrote. “The stakes couldn’t be higher.”

Read the Augusta Chronicle article: Opinion Guest Column: Health insurance—and lives—on the line in Georgia runoff