Sen. Warnock: It was a ‘gut punch’ finding out AMC was closing

Georgia US Sen. Raphael Warnock comments on the future of AMC, calls for better policy on Medicaid
Political candidates focus on AMC closure
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 6:03 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - The state is just 55 days from WellStar’s Atlanta Medical Center shutting its doors. Georgia lawmakers, like US Sen. Raphael Warnock, are in the forefront, speaking out against the closure. While others have dodged comment.

“Quite frankly it was a gut-punch to hear that the Atlanta Medical Center would be closed by WellStar,” said Sen. Raphael Warnock, (D) Georgia.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Atlanta Medical Center closing in downtown Atlanta | What does it mean?

The closing of AMC, which will happen just seven days before people head to the polls, has the full attention of Georgia’s Congressional democratic delegation.

Warnock, US Sen. Jon Ossoff, and other members of Congress sent a firm letter to WellStar Health System’s CEO.

The letter said in part, “We implore you to rethink this decision and reverse course.”

“In the meantime, what we really need to do in Georgia is expand Medicaid,” said Warnock.

In an interview with CBS46 News on Wednesday, Warnock focused on Medicaid expansion.

“We have 646,000 people in the gap, and as a result of that, we see hospitals close,” Warnock said.

It’s a plan many Georgia Republicans oppose. Warnock’s challenger, Herschel Walker did not return our request for an interview on Wednesday.

WellStar, the company that decided to close AMC, told CBS46 that “while expanding Medicaid may have helped AMC’s financial sustainability, it would not have changed this outcome.”

Gov. Brian Kemp has said he shares the concerns of the community on the impact of AMC closing and said other local hospitals and healthcare providers are in active talks on how the closure will shift their needs and services.

CBS46 News asked Warnock if there were any federal legislative plans.

“Well, one of the main things I’ve been focused on is providing a federal fix to the Medicaid gap in Georgia. Now let’s be really clear. State leaders could make a different decision, they’re playing politics with people’s lives,” Warnock stated.