The political climate in Atlanta, Georgia has a direct influence on healthcare policies and regulations. It is essential for state policy makers to consider whether a Georgian-managed exchange is in the best interest of the state in the long term. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for governments to take action and respond to serious emergencies. President Trump has proposed eliminating funding from the World Health Organization (WHO), an entity that brings together member states and coordinates international responses to infectious diseases, among other tasks.
Congress has organized a bipartisan defense over the past two years to prevent the requested reductions from becoming a reality. The United States does not have universal health coverage, despite spending more per capita on healthcare than any other country on the planet. This leads to untimely and confusing debates about individual COVID-19 testing and treatment coverage across the country. The lack of CDC personnel and the paralysis of global health security efforts leave the country exposed to many threats that do not recognize international borders or that discriminate between those who have insurance and those who do not.
Responding to public health threats requires political prioritization and bold action before infections reach our shores. When Americans need treatment for such an illness, they come into contact with a national health care funding and delivery system that operates within a regulatory landscape that reflects the priorities of their elected representatives. Expansion is also big business for Georgia, as the new federal funding will cover all the costs of newly eligible Georgians in the first few years and at least 90 percent of the costs in the long run. A final effort to address the diverse health care needs of the United States is to develop diversity in the workforce.
That law was part of an effort to prevent Georgia from participating in the Affordable Care Act under the presidency of then-President Barack Obama. Many factors, such as affordability, access, and diversity in the health system, influence care and outcomes, creating challenges that make the task of eliminating health disparities and achieving health equity daunting and elusive. In 1999, Congress mandated an annual national report on health care disparities and asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to evaluate factors that contribute to disparities. A Capital B analysis of data from the Georgia Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology revealed that, since 1994, more delivery and delivery units have been closed in black counties than in white counties.
Responses to pandemics in any country are fundamental human efforts led by governments established by people through political processes. In reality, since Georgia has been unable to lay the foundation for a state-managed exchange, Georgians will benefit from an exchange facilitated by the federal government.