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As the midterm elections close in on Georgia, it is important to be well-informed on the platforms of the candidates running for office within the state. One of the most important elections happening in the state is the gubernatorial race between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp. For the purposes of this blog, I am going to analyze the respective health platforms of the two candidates.

Stacey Abrams has been the Minority Leader of the GA House of Representatives since 2011. The five goals of her health platform, as listed on her campaign website, are:

  1. Expand Medicaid in Georgia and lower premiums
  2. Support and safeguard women’s health and a woman’s right to choose
  3. Leverage state and federal programs to incentivize more doctors and medical personnel to work in underserved areas
  4. Ensure our system provides robust supports for elderly Georgians
  5. Fund critical mental health services throughout Georgia so that individuals will have their needs addressed by the health care system rather than the criminal justice system
Brian Kemp (left) vs Stacey Abrams (right)
Brian Kemp (left) and Stacey Abrams (right). Image Credit: 11Alive

Brian Kemp has been the GA Secretary of State since 2010. The five goals of his health platform, as listed on his campaign website, are:

  1. Affordable insurance premiums
  2. Accessible healthcare
  3. Expanded choices in insurance coverage, providers
  4. Collaboration to address mental health, Alzheimer’s disease
  5. Quality care through innovation, transparency

At first glance, it seems as though there are some similarities in these positions. They both express a goal to address insurance premiums, but it is unclear whether or not they would agree as to what constitutes an “affordable” insurance premium. They both outline a goal to address mental health, but Abrams goes a step farther to also target mental health in the criminal justice system. Kemp focuses on elderly mental health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. Abrams expresses the goal to expand Medicaid, while Kemp wants expansion on choices in providers. Based on these goals, it seems as though Kemp is in favor of more zero sum competition between multiple insurance providers, while Abrams favors expanded socialized care and welfare programs. While Kemp lays out the goal of “accessible healthcare”, Abrams specifies the importance of leveraging state and federal programs in order to create better healthcare in underserved areas.

Kemp and Abrams address many of the same issues in their health platforms, but vary on their level of specificity and the direction in which they wish to take each issue. Depending on who wins the GA gubernatorial race, the entire GA healthcare system could change drastically. By 2019, the GA healthcare system could either be characterized by more socialized care with greater incentives for valuable care, or a more competitive system focused on addressing mental health and more accessible care. The choice is yours, Georgia!