• Press Release

At Stake in Gubernatorial Races in Maine, Georgia, and Kansas: Health Care Access

October 18, 2018

For Immediate Release
October 18, 2018

At Stake in Gubernatorial Races in Maine, Georgia, and Kansas: Health Care Access for Hundreds of Thousands of Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The stakes are high in elections across the country, but for families in Maine, Georgia, and Kansas, it's a matter of life and death. All three states have failed to expand Medicaid, a program that provides health care access for millions of vulnerable families, due to their Republican leadership. Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILYs List, released the following statement:

“Because of Republican governors who have stubbornly refused to expand Medicaid, hundreds of thousands of families in states like Maine, Georgia, and Kansas have continued to suffer. This is leadership failure of the highest order, and voters have a chance to be heard on November 6th by electing Janet Mills, Stacey Abrams, and Laura Kelly – leaders with the political courage to do what's right and save lives.”

Here are the facts:

  • IN MAINE: A year ago, Maine voters voted overwhelmingly to expand Medicaid, but Governor LePage has refused to do so by aggressively blocking implementation. 
  • The election of Maine Republican Shawn Moody would mean more of the same failures of the LePage administration. However, there is hope. Democratic nominee Janet Mills has said she would do what's right for Maine families and expand Medicaid her very first day in office. 
  • With a population that has been greatly impacted by the opioid crisis, this move is vital and would save lives. 70,000 low-income people would become eligible for health care under Medicaid expansion, and thousands of jobs would be created. 


  • IN GEORGIA: Under Republican Governor Nathan Deal, Georgia is one of seventeen states that has failed to expand Medicaid to about 500,000 eligible people in the Peach State. 
  • Republican Brian Kemp, who is more extreme than Deal, opposes broadening health care access for Georgians. In fact, he called Medicaid “a failed government program” that “costs too much and fails to deliver for hard-working Georgians.” He is very, very wrong and Georgia families are paying a dangerously high price.
  • Stacey Abrams knows that Georgia has the fourth-highest uninsured rate in the country and has made Medicaid expansion the cornerstone of her plan to ensure quality health care that is “affordable and accessible to all Georgians.” 


  • IN KANSAS: Currently, Kansas' state health care program fails to cover 150,000 people who fall into the “coverage gap,” resulting in vulnerable families having nowhere to turn for health care access because the state hasn't expanded Medicaid. 
  • Despite the fact that a bipartisan majority of the state's Legislature voted to expand Medicaid in 2017, then-Governor Brownback vetoed it. Republican gubernatorial nominee to replace him, Kris Kobach, also opposes Medicaid expansion and doesn't even have a section on his campaign website on health policy. He hasn't proposed any solution to cover these families, beyond asking his buddy Trump to do him a solid. 
  • State senator and Democratic nominee Laura Kelly voted for the expansion and remains a staunch supporter. She would sign legislation to expand Medicaid in her first year as governor, a move that would provide critical relief to these families and a vital lifeline to the state's struggling rural hospitals.  


  • ACROSS THE COUNTRY: With new leadership, states across the country have the opportunity to expand Medicaid to millions of families. For a recent example, look no further than Virginia
  • Studies show that in states that have expanded Medicaid, access to care has vastly improved and so has quality of care. 
  • In states that have expanded Medicaid, small towns and rural areas have seen their uninsured rate decline three times faster than in states that have failed to expanded the program, like Maine, Georgia, and Kansas. 

“We've always known that the stakes are high on this Election Day, but this comes down to life and death. Mainers, Georgians, and Kansans deserve better than what they've gotten. It's time to elect leaders who will fight for them by making health care access available to hundreds of thousands of families,” added Schriock.  

EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $500 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates – making them one of the most successful political organizations ever. Our grassroots community of over five million members helps Democratic women wage competitive campaigns – and win. We recruit and train candidates, support strong campaigns, research the issues that impact women and families, and turn out women voters. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect 116 women to the House, 23 to the Senate, 12 governors, and over 800 to state and local office. Forty percent of the candidates EMILYs List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. Since the 2016 election, thousands of women and counting have reached out to us about running for office. To harness this energy, EMILYs List has launched Run to Win, an unprecedented effort to get more women to run at the local, state, and national levels.