Flashback: That Time Brian Kemp Voted to Take Inhalers Away from Kids and End Guaranteed Coverage for Other Pre-Existing Conditions

September 10, 2018

Kemp cannot hide his ugly track record of opposing vital health care for Georgians

ATLANTA – Brian Kemp has a long record of desperately trying to deny healthcare to the people of Georgia, but in 2005, he sank to an appalling low: voting to strip guaranteed coverage from people – especially women and children—with pre-existing conditions. As a state senator, Kemp voted for healthcare bill SB 174 that would have potentially left children suffering from asthma without access to inhalers, women without access to mastectomies and contraception, and Georgians of all stripes without access to certain anti-cancer drug therapy or substance abuse treatment. The bill even went so far as to remove guaranteed coverage for children with autism. Now, as he campaigns for governor, he consistently dodges questions about whether he will support healthcare coverage for Georgians with pre-existing conditions.

In a sign of just how radical Kemp is when it comes to healthcare, here is what other Republicans said about the bill that he voted for:

  • Republican State Senator Seth Harp, described it as “a stinking dead horse.” [AJC, 3/12/2005]
  • Former nurse and fellow Republican State Senator Renee Unterman said, “It’s a shame for Republican men to be in here doing this. [AJC, 3/12/2005]

“Brian Kemp has done everything he can to limit healthcare access to the people of Georgia,” said Democratic Party of Georgia spokesman Seth Bringman. “On the campaign trail, Kemp has refused to commit to protecting Georgians with pre-existing health conditions. This vote is proof that he never will.”

Kemp continues to oppose expanding Medicaid in the state, which would provide coverage to nearly 500,000 Georgians, and according to a new study by the Urban Institute could reduce the number of children who are uninsured. While thirty-two states across the U.S. have expanded Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act, Georgia is not one of them, and as a result, Georgia ranks near the bottom-tier of states by many healthcare measures.


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