(The Center Square) – State Rep. Lauren Daniel, R-Locust Grove, has a unique knowledge of the medical industry.
She had her first child as a teenager and saw first-hand the dearth of resources available to Georgians experiencing a similar scenario.
“I’m one of the youngest representatives in the state,” Daniel told The Center Square. “I think that gives me somewhat of a unique perspective in terms of what matters to people that are raising their families today and the issues that they face. I don’t necessarily know that we’ve always been great as a collective in the legislature of prioritizing the normal day-to-day people.”
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, pregnancy-related deaths for white women reached 22.7 per 100,000 live births and 48.6 per 100,000 live births for Black women.
How does the state improve those numbers?
“More emphasis needs to be put on access to information for people. … A lot of women, I feel like, don’t necessarily know the options that are available to them in terms of how to have a child. It sounds silly, but there are options in terms of how you give birth, where you give birth, and all of that plays into your mental health. We all know that mental health matters, but women who are pregnant naturally are going through hormonal shifts, and it affects the chemistry of your brain and how you view things.
“…There’s this newer push for doulas [people who provide emotional and physical support to a pregnant woman] to be involved in maternal health and outcomes. And the studies are pretty limited on it. But nonetheless, it does seem to have some correlation in terms of better outcomes.”
How would Georgia pay for increased medical resources?
“That’s a great question too. And obviously, it’s one that many people in the area of public service have wrestled with, and it’s not a new question. I think, first and foremost, we can all say that the insurance system itself is probably broken, especially at the federal level … Really, the entire system should be overhauled, but that’s not something the state Legislature can do. But I’m not naive to that.”
How does the state work to attract more people into the medical field?
“There’s been efforts made to do that, whether that’s lowering their costs for education or providing some type of tax incentive for doctors to open in a certain area. We do that with other things like business ventures that we bring in. Look at the Hyundai plant; whether you agree with that or not, we’ve provided incentives for other areas. But with that being said, the priority that has been placed in Georgia is business. It’s not necessarily healthcare. …You can’t just legislate something and expect taxpayers to cover the burden of it. It’s no secret everything is getting more and more expensive. …I think it really goes back to what you’re willing to put emphasis on as a state.”
Do you think the legislature will revisit the fetal heartbeat bill?
“I don’t know that there’s an appetite to open it back up inside the Legislature at this time. I can’t speak for everyone, but that’s my feeling. … I don’t know that public sentiment has changed too much.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor