Georgia healthcare is broken. Our state has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country at 14 percent. The costs of medical care and prescription drugs continue to skyrocket. Many Georgians are not able to see a doctor and several rural hospitals have closed or are facing financial difficulties. Even middle-class Georgians struggle with the high insurance rates that our nation’s poorly regulated and profit-before-quality health system forces us to deal with.

Phyllis believes that access to quality affordable healthcare is the right of every Georgian. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a small step in the right direction, but improvements are needed. Sadly, the proposed replacements to the ACA by the GOP in Washington have been poorly thought out and generally unpopular for many reasons. 

It is uncertain what the full impact of future Republican policies out of Washington will have on residents of Georgia. We need new and strong leadership in the State Senate to deal effectively with this uncertainty. Phyllis Hatcher will be that leader for District 17.

Since the 2010 federal health law remains in place, she believes that now is the time to take action on health care. Georgia is one of the 19 Republican-controlled states that failed to expand its Medicaid program to close the coverage gap. Medicaid expansion is the major option still available to bring an influx of dollars to the state’s health care system.

Another health care issue is medical marijuana. While the state has recently made some progress on this, it is still not possible to legally obtain medical marijuana (cannabis oil) in Georgia. Patients must travel outside the state to buy their medication. Adding such a burden to people already struggling with diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome is not right. Phyllis Hatcher will work to correct this.

When it comes to health factors and outcomes, the counties in Georgia Senate District 17 fare better than many of the other 156 counties in our state, but there is room for improvement. According to recent county health rankings for health outcomes (length and quality of life), Henry County is ranked 14th, Rockdale is ranked 45th, and Newton is ranked 52nd. Our counties’ rankings for health factors (clinical care, environment, behaviors, etc.), Henry is 23rd, Rockdale 31st, and Newton 54th. Together, we can send Phyllis Hatcher to the state capitol to advocate sensible healthcare policies that will help our district continue to improve.