Imagine trying to decide between spending money to visit the doctor to check up on your diabetes or spending that money to buy fresh fruit for your children. For many Georgians, such a scenario may not take too much imagination. One out of every five Georgian adults is uninsured (1). In our healthcare system that means paying high prices for basic, routine care, having no choice but to use the emergency room as a substitute for primary care, or putting off care until they face a medical emergency.
Health Students Taking Action Together, Inc. (H-STAT) believes that all people have the right to access the healthcare that they need. As health profession students, we witness firsthand the devastating effects of barriers to healthcare access. However, often it is the people who are most affected by these barriers have the least political voice to advocate for necessary policy changes. We believe that we, as future health professionals, have the responsibility to speak out against the ways our system has failed our patients and advocate for our patients’ health. That is why each year we hold a candlelight vigil in honor of those who have lost their lives due to lack of access to healthcare.
H-STAT has held this vigil every year since 2001, bringing together students, medical professionals, community members and fellow advocates to shine a light on this important issue and bring attention to the fact that we need policies in place to ensure that no one goes without health insurance.
Help us speak up about this issue! The vigil will take place outside of the main Grady Hospital entrance (at Gilmer St) on Monday, October 26th at 6:30 pm. The event will include several speakers, including Dr. Liz Frye, Dr. Maura George, George Chidi, Laura Colbert, and some uninsured patients.
We hope you will join us as we bring attention to this very important issue. All Georgians have a right to have access to healthcare. Help us make this issue one our policymakers cannot ignore.
(1) Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of U.S. Census Bureau Data
As future health professionals, we have the responsibility to speak out against the ways the system has failed our patients.
Do you have questions about the vigil? Email Colin, our Advocacy Chair, using the contact form below.
If you want to learn more about Medicaid in Georgia, the newly released resource from Georgians for a Healthy Future and the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute is a great place to start. “Understanding Medicaid in Georgia and the Opportunity to Improve It” is a three-part guide that provides information about the current state of Medicaid in Georgia, explains the coverage gap, and explores the benefits of closing this gap.