Senator Reverend Warnock Leads Bicameral Group of Lawmakers in Urgent Call to Include Life-Saving Medicaid Fix in Forthcoming Economic Package

Senator Reverend Warnock joined by Senators Baldwin, Ossoff, Warren, and Representatives Clyburn and Bourdeaux underscore vital need to include comprehensive, stable Medicaid-like coverage provisions in reconciliation bill
Medicaid expansion will improve health outcomes for millions of Americans in the twelve non-expansion states and provide healthcare access for 646,000 eligible Georgians
Senator Reverend Warnock: “I believe that health care is a human right–and if you believe it’s a human right, you don’t believe it’s a human right in just 38 states. No one should be denied healthcare in America because of where they live”
ICYMI: “Closing the ‘Medicaid gap’ would save 7,000 lives annually and $2 billion in medical debt, study finds” – MORE HERE from Yahoo Finance

Senators Warnock, Baldwin, Ossoff, Warren and Reps. Clyburn and Bourdeaux on Medicaid and the Reconciliation Package

***Watch news conference HERE***

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) was joined by a group of lawmakers from the U.S. Senate and U.S. House to underline the critical importance of addressing the coverage gap in America in the forthcoming reconciliation package, and urge negotiators to ensure the final package includes a Medicaid-like program that will provide comprehensive, stable health care to the 4.4 million Americans who would otherwise qualify for Medicaid coverage—including hundreds of thousands of uninsured Georgians.

“I believe that health care is a human right–and if you believe it’s a human right, you don’t believe it’s a human right in just 38 states. No one should be denied healthcare in America because of where they live,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “Now I know there are a number of priorities being discussed in this package, all focused on healthcare—but whatever we do, we must expand Medicaid. People are literally dying. Especially the working poor. Because they have no access to healthcare at all. That is unconscionable and unacceptable in the United States of America.”

This pandemic taught us lessons that we should have learned a long time ago. When you are dealing with a highly contagious airborne disease, if your neighbor is sick, you’re potentially imperiled. We’re as close in our humanity as a cough. A virus with no geographical boundaries. It certainly doesn’t know state lines,” Senator Warnock continued. “The pandemic is teaching us what we should have known and that is that we need to make sure that all Americans – the 4.4 million Americans, and 646,000 Georgians, who qualify for Medicaid expansion – are rescued from a hostage situation.  Because that is what’s going on right now: we have politicians who are blocking Georgians and others from the 11 other states from access to the healthcare they’re already paying for in their taxes. They’re acting as if this is their money – it doesn’t belong to them, it belongs to the people. This democracy belongs to the people.”

“I join these esteemed colleagues to urge our fellow members of Congress to heed the will of the people. To listen to the voices in Georgia who elected me and Senator Reverend Warnock to secure this Senate majority and to include Medicaid expansion in reconciliation to ensure that every American has access to the health care that they need. To end the needless suffering and death of America’s working poor, in states where politicians – out of contempt for low income people and vain partisanship refuse to do what’s right and sentence so many to needless suffering and death,” said Senator Jon Ossoff. “We have the chance now in Congress to change that. We have a moral imperative to expand Medicaid.”

“I teamed up with my colleagues from Georgia so that we could open the door to those who’ve been shut out and expand access to affordable healthcare – including preventative care – that people want and desperately need,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin. “Waiting for Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature and the 11 other states that have refused to do the right thing is no longer a viable option. Our Build Back Better budget is the best opportunity we have to make a federal investment to expand access to quality healthcare coverage for working families. By closing the coverage gap, studies show we would save an estimated 7,000 lives each year and could reduce $2 billion in medical debt. Health insurance isn’t just about coverage, it can improve so many different aspects of a person’s life. Right now, we have the opportunity to get it right. Guided by our belief that healthcare should be a guaranteed right in America.”

“This is not just about saving lives, this is about enhancing the quality of life,” said House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. “And it’s one thing for us to guarantee dental care, vision care, for those of us above the age of 65. It’s something else to say to a family that has the income below the poverty level, who aspires to the middle class, that if they get a toothache or if you need vision care, because your state did not expand Medicaid, it’s not available to you. That is what we are allowing in 12 states that have decided to not expand Medicaid. That is not who we are. We, as my late colleague Rep. Elijah Cummings would say, are better than that. And it’s time for us to demonstrate that we are better.”

“In America, access to a doctor or a hospital should not depend on where you live. Getting cancer treatments or insulin to manage diabetes, should not depend on where you live. Avoiding bankruptcy over bills from a broken leg should not depend on where you live. And yet, here in America, the richest country in the history of the world, care that is routinely available in 38 states is out of reach for millions of people solely because they live in one of the other 12 states,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “People who are caught in the Medicaid coverage gap because their state stubbornly refuses the help offered by the ACA don’t get access to health care that millions of other Americans get. The Medicaid coverage gap has left low-income Americans – including those in rural communities and Black and brown communities – in the lurch.”

“Despite significant financial incentives provided by the Affordable Care Act and the American Rescue Plan, Georgia and the 11 other non-expansion states have still refused to act,” said Representative Carolyn Bourdeaux. “Expanding Medicaid has the potential to provide healthcare coverage for 4 million Americans and that includes 646,000 Georgians. We must change the notion that the state you live in affects your access to affordable healthcare. The choice in Georgia – not to expand Medicaid – has a very real human cost.”

The lawmakers, all co-sponsors of the Medicaid Saves Lives Act originally introduced by Senator Reverend Warnock along with U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA), highlighted the benefits of Medicaid, which in addition to saving lives has been proven to improve health outcomes, bolster health systems and strengthen public health. The news conference follows Senators Warnock, Baldwin and Ossoff’s push last week to Senate leadership urging them to address closing the coverage gap as negotiations on the reconciliation package progress.