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GHF participates in visit from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra

By: Knetta Adkins

A group of adults standing together wearing masks in front of a sign at Southside Medical Center. They are a mix of Black, White, Latino, and other races.
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra at Southside Medical Center, Atlanta, GA.

On August 2nd, I had the opportunity to meet with Secretary Xavier Becerra, the 25th Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. During his August trip to Georgia, Secretary Becerra hosted a roundtable with community leaders to hear about the health care concerns and challenges most affecting Georgians. Congresswomen Carolyn Bordeaux, Lucy McBath, and Nikema Williams, state Representative Matthew Wilson, and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms participated in the roundtable, as well as representatives from Community Catalyst, Protect Our Care Georgia, and others. It was an exciting moment to represent Georgians for a Healthy Future and share on behalf of the marginalized Georgians for whom we advocate. 

For me, this opportunity served as a megaphone to promote the need for and voice my support of Medicaid expansion in Georgia. Adopting Medicaid expansion provide coverage to more than 500,000 uninsured Georgians, prompt new economic activity to our local communities, and increase revenue for struggling Georgia hospitals that treat our residents. Medicaid expansion is one of the best policy decisions Georgia could make! 

Secretary Becerra highlighted the on-going COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period, which offered Georgians the opportunity to enroll in affordable, comprehensive health insurance outside of the typical fall enrollment period. Georgia’s marketplace has welcomed thousands of new enrollees during the February to August special enrollment period–a great reminder of the value of health coverage to Georgia individuals and families. (Miller, 2021) 

A group of adults listening to a consumer share her story about health care access in Georgia.
A Georgia consumer shares about the importance of access to quality health care her family received from an FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) as immigrants.

The biggest takeaway from participating in the discussion was observing the dedicated role of Georgia women in advocacy and leadership roles. To be at the table with other women identifying leaders and other Black women served as a big inspiration for me and a reminder how women are instrumental in influencing policy change. We have been at the front lines of advancing health care and health equity work for decades, and this time is no different. Women’s voices are necessary in guiding the improvement of health care across the state and ensuring a healthy future for all Georgians and their families. 

Source: Miller, A., (2021, August 9) Insurers flock to offer coverage in 2022 exchange; this year’s still open for a week. Georgia Health News. https://www.georgiahealthnews.com/2021/08/insurers-flock-offer-coverage-2022-exchange-years-open-week/


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