Atlanta, GA – On Thursday, the only hospital in Randolph County closed its doors, making clear yet again the devastating toll of Georgia’s failure to expand Medicaid. Although Randolph County has the third-highest COVID-19 death rate in the nation, there is now no emergency facility for patients to receive care in the area.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which is overwhelming rural hospitals across the country, has only intensified the pre-existing financial and medical pressure on health care facilities. Meanwhile, unelected Senator Kelly Loeffler and Congressman Doug Collins are not only ignoring the urgent relief their state and these hospitals need, they are actively supporting an attempt to overturn the Affordable Care Act and end protections for pre-existing conditions for 1.8 million Georgians.
As dozens of health care workers at the Southwest Georgia Regional Medical Center finished their final shift, community leaders described the impact the closure will have on the health care and economy for thousands in the area. According to one doctor at the facility, patients who call an ambulance will need to drive up to an hour to reach the nearest emergency room. For residents in a county with one of the highest death rates from COVID in the nation, that distance could mean the difference.
“Because Georgia’s leaders failed to expand Medicaid, rural hospitals across our state are struggling to care for their patients. Now, in one of the deadliest counties in America for the pandemic, there is no emergency facility for Georgians to turn to if they fall sick,” said Warnock for Georgia spokesperson Ralph Jones Jr. “In the face of this ongoing crisis, Senator Loeffler and Congressman Collins are choosing not only to ignore their constituents, but also to undermine the Affordable Care Act and the foundation of health care in rural Georgia. They have abdicated their responsibility to the people of this state, and Georgians like those in Randolph County are paying the price for it. As Senator, Reverend Warnock will make it easier for Georgia to expand Medicaid and never stop fighting for the people who need it most.”
About Reverend Warnock
Reverend Raphael Warnock grew up in Kayton Homes public housing in Savannah. Fifteen years ago, he was chosen to serve as Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former pulpit of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is only the fifth Senior Pastor in the history of the church and the youngest pastor ever selected to serve in that position. Reverend Warnock believes his service does not stop at the church door, and has been an advocate to expand health care coverage and to ensure hardworking Georgians can make a living wage. As Senator, Reverend Warnock will bring to Washington the concerns of struggling Georgia families who wonder why no one is looking out for them, and focus on fighting for quality, affordable health care, for the dignity of working people who are paid too little as our government works more for Wall Street, and to make sure every voice is heard.
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