"These gaps really make it so that Georgians can't afford needed health care. If they receive health care, they're left with medical debt, or they have to make really tough…
Long-standing systemic and structural racism has led to the deep health disparities that as health advocates we regularly reference:
Rates of COVID-19 among Black Georgians outpace their share of the state’s population.
Black mothers in Georgia are twice as likely to give birth to a low-birthweight baby as white Georgians.
Rates of HIV diagnosis are among Black Georgians are six times higher than among white Georgians and more than twice the state’s overall rate.
The same racist systems & structures that have produced these health outcomes have led to the murders of black people in Georgia and across the country.
This reality and the systems that allow it to persist are not new. Both are unacceptable.
Georgians for a Healthy Future stands with its Black staff, board members, and partners to affirm that Black lives matter. Through our policy advocacy, coalition building and community engagement, GHF is committed to dismantling the racist structures that threaten the health and well-being of Black Georgians and their communities. GHF is also committed to examining our own organizational structures and practices for ways in which we can more fully embody equity, a process which we began earlier this year.
As GHF continues our imperfect work in pursuit of racial justice and health equity, we invite you to join us:
- Contact your elected officials, including your mayor, city council members, and district attorney to advocate for accountability and change, such as the policy changes recommended by the American Public Health Association and PolicyLink
- Want more advocacy? Contact Governor Kemp and your state legislators and ask them to expand Medicaid when they return to the state Capitol this month. More than one-third of uninsured, low-income Georgians who could gain health coverage through Medicaid are Black and more than half are people of color
- Donate to Black-led health advocacy and service organizations like the Black Mamas Matter, Black Women’s Health Imperative, Center for Black Women’s Wellness, Feminist Women’s Health Center, SisterSong, SOWEGA Rising, and other groups serving your community
- Vote, volunteer and seek other ways to be active in your community
- Build power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities: Support BVM Capacity Building Institute and help provide training and support for community‑based organizations
- For non-black allies: deepen your understanding of how racism affects all of us by reading anti‑racism resources and having conversations with your family and friends
- Take care of yourself and your loved ones
On May 13, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, an important milestone in the movement towards health equity. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in all health programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance through HHS, are administered through HHS, or are established under Title 1 of the Affordable Care Act. As a result, most health insurance plans, facilities, programs, and providers are covered under this rule.
Notably, Brooksville chiropractic marks the first time that sex discrimination in health care is prohibited and also clarifies that gender identity and sex stereotyping are included in this definition. Because of these provisions, LGBT Georgians have protections from discrimination in health coverage and care. For specific information on the gender identity and sex stereotyping provisions of Section 1557, see Out2Enroll’s FAQ here. For Georgia-specific information about health insurance options for LGBT Georgians, check out the series of fact sheets that Georgians for a Healthy Future teamed up with Georgia Equality and The Health Initiative to release this past fall.
Discrimination against individuals with limited English Proficiency (LEP) is also prohibited in the health care programs and activities covered by the rule (defined under national origin). More than 1.3 million Georgians have LEP. In addition, the final rule requires effective communications with individuals with disabilities.
If you believe you have been discriminated against, you can file a complaint online with the Office for Civil Rights. If you are an enrollment assister looking for resources to educate the consumers you help about their protections under Section 1557, you can access FAQs and fact sheets from HHS here.