View the full press call here.
ATLANTA, Ga. — Physicians today called on Georgians to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act before the enrollment deadline Dec. 15. The physicians’ appeal came as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to surge, including a record 6,601 new infections on Friday, a single-day record.
“During a pandemic, people need healthcare more than ever and we urge everyone to sign up for a healthcare plan that works for them and their families,” said Dr. Anurag Sahu, MD, a cardiologist in Atlanta. “The Affordable Care Act can help families and individuals find coverage that fits their needs and their budgets. And policymakers still have time to expand healthcare to more Georgians and help find a way so as many — if not all — Georgians have the protections they need to keep themselves and their loved ones healthy and safe.”
The physicians called on Georgia’s U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue to stop their attacks on healthcare, which include undermining the ACA, and urged them to instead help more Georgians get health coverage as a pandemic-related recession has caused 158,000 Georgians to lose their jobs between February and October. Nationally, job losses are expected to force 27 million Americans to lose their healthcare, and millions more to see their wages go down.
“Physicians and healthcare professionals are speaking up and urging Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler to help us care for the many Georgians who are experiencing pain and suffering, and one of the first steps toward this goal is to make sure people can see a doctor without worrying about costs,” said Dr. Jehangir Pirzada, DO, Medical Director of a department of emergency medicine in Griffin. “We must redouble our efforts to ensure that people have health coverage, and physicians are urging all Georgians to find a healthcare plan that fits their budgets before the Dec. 15 ACA signup deadline. During a pandemic, it’s particularly important that we make sure everyone’s health is protected. We’re asking Sens. Perdue and Loeffler to join us in this important effort, and stop throwing up barriers that prevent Georgians from having the healthcare they need to be safe during this pandemic.”
Perdue voted several times to repeal the ACA and its protections for people with preexisting conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease and cancer. Georgia is home to 4.4 million people with preexisting conditions. Perdue also voted for an ACA replacement bill that would have threatened Georgians’ healthcare, raised premiums and increased health costs for older Americans and people with preexisting conditions.
Sen. Loeffler wants to expand junk insurance plans, which provide skimpy coverage that could saddle people with astronomical medical bills. Loeffler praised Georgia’s request for a Section 1332 waiver, which lets a state create its own health care program as an alternative to the ACA. Under Georgia’s waiver, people would buy their insurance from brokers who can sell them so-called junk plans that don’t have to conform to ACA requirements, including prohibitions against excluding patients with preexisting conditions. Loeffler’s four-page healthcare proposal would effectively force many families to ration healthcare while raising their out-of-pocket costs.
“The ACA offers plans that protect people with preexisting conditions, which is especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we ask every Georgian who’s looking for coverage to check out the exchange to see if they qualify for subsidies that can reduce the costs of premiums,” said Dr. Timilehin Wusu, MD, who practices orthopedic sports medicine in Lawrenceville. “Georgians still face a massive gap in healthcare coverage — a gap that can be closed by expanding healthcare so more than 720,000 working families in Georgia without insurance can finally have the protection they need and deserve. As physicians, what disappoints us is the refusal of our policymakers, especially Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, to help more Georgians get healthcare. Georgians deserve elected leaders who will fight for them to have quality affordable healthcare, not hide from that responsibility behind politics and press releases.”
Georgians can still sign up for healthcare through the federal exchange at www.healthcare.gov while the state puts in place a new state signup website independent of the federal exchange, slated for 2023.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, December 9, 2020