The Republican legislation, if enacted, “would have an especially big impact on children of color in our state,’’ Laura Colbert adds. “We already see health disparities in communities of color in…
Blog (May 2017)
When the American Health Care Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month, the attention around the bill revolved around the rollback of protections for people with pre-existing conditions. These rollbacks and cost shifts from insurers to consumers are worrying and worthy of attention, but often overlooked in the health care bill are radical changes to Medicaid, the health program the covers our most vulnerable citizens. The AHCA contains cuts and caps that would eliminate the Medicaid program as we know it, gutting a program that covers 1.3 million Georgia children and hundreds of thousands of Georgians with disabilities and low-income seniors.
Last week’s Congressional Budget Office score demonstrated the harm that the AHCA would inflict on consumers across the country and in our state. 23 million people are expected to lose their coverage within a decade, and of those 14 million would lose the Medicaid coverage that they depend on for critical health care services and supports.
The U.S. Senate has begun drafting their version of a health care bill and many of the features of the AHCA are expected to remain, including the dismantling of Medicaid. This week, Senators are home for a week-long recess. Georgia’s Senators, Senator Johnny Isakson and Senator David Perdue, need to hear from you during this important time. They need to hear that Georgians want them to oppose any bill or measure that: 1) cuts and caps the Medicaid program or 2) reduces coverage for millions of Americans. Start by calling Senator Isakson at 770-661-0999.
We have the tools you need to take action
- Check out protectmycarega.org to take action, learn more, and share your health care story. This is your hub for Georgia-specific information about the federal health care debate.
- Our advocacy toolkit has all the information that you need to arrange a meeting with your Senators, write a letter to the editor, or organize a town hall. Use it as the starting point for your advocacy this week!
- If you, a family member, or a friend are covered by Medicaid, share your story using #IamMedicaidGA! Start by printing this sign.
Georgians for a Healthy Future partnered with Women Advocating for Georgians (WAG) to host a public education forum on Wednesday, May 17th about health care in Georgia. GHF’s Executive Director Cindy Zeldin kicked off the forum with an overview of the Affordable Care Act, its impact on Georgia, and a discussion of the proposed changes in the American Health Care Act, the health care bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month. Following that, a panel of local stakeholders discussed health coverage and access in the Savannah region. J. Brandon Gaffney introduced participants to the J.C. Lewis Primary Health Care Center and the important role that it plays in providing health care to Savannahns experiencing homeless, those with low-incomes, and uninsured or under-insured people in the Savannah region. Sarah Sessoms of Insure Georgia illuminated the role of enrollment assisters in helping people enroll in and use their health coverage. Leigh Rich of Armstrong University’s Department of Health Sciences moderated the discussion and brought an important public health perspective to the conversation. The afternoon wrapped up with a one-on-one conversation with State Representative Jesse Petrea (District 166, Savannah). Rep. Petrea and GHF’s Laura Colbert discussed the 2017 Georgia legislative session, Georgia’s Medicaid program, and possible solutions for issues facing Georgia health care consumers. The afternoon produced engaging discussions and useful information about the federal health care debate happening in Washington, D.C., the health care landscape in Georgia, and the experiences of Georgia’s consumers. We look forward to visiting Savannah again soon to build on these important conversations!
Photos courtesy of Sheila Grossman
Today the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Health Care Act, a disappointment for health care consumers across Georgia. At a minimum, we know that the bill decimates Georgia’s Medicaid program, cutting more than $4 billion over 10 years, and would result in at least 560,000 more uninsured Georgians within a decade. Through unconscionable cuts and a restructuring of Medicaid, it will put many of our most vulnerable Georgians at risk, including children, people with disabilities and pregnant women. Children from low-income families could be denied critical preventive services including screenings for vision and hearing, immunizations and treatment for mental health issues. People battling cancer or addiction could lose coverage and access to life-saving treatment. Georgia’s budget would be put under severe pressure, which could lead to sharp cuts in the services older adults and persons with disabilities need to remain in their own homes.
Furthermore, the AHCA does nothing to improve affordability or quality of care for Georgia consumers. Instead, it opens the door to discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, skimpier insurance coverage for everyone and higher health care costs for Georgians. The bill even turns back the clock to a time when insurers could deny coverage for life-saving treatments by imposing annual and lifetime caps.
“Should it become law, the American Health Care Act will have a devastating effect on Georgia,” says Cindy Zeldin, Executive Director. “It will cause more than half a million Georgians to lose their coverage entirely while doing nothing to improve affordability or quality of care. This hastily thought out legislation will lead to higher deductibles while stripping consumers of critical protections. It will force unconscionable cuts in health care services for vulnerable children, people with disabilities, and seniors who rely on Medicaid for their most basic health needs. We urge Senators Isakson and Perdue to weigh the impact this legislation will have on people all across Georgia whose basic access to care hangs in the balance and to reject this harmful legislation.”
As this bill moves to the Senate, we call on Senators Isakson and Perdue to stand up for Georgia’s children, seniors, people with disabilities, pregnant women, families and those with pre-existing conditions who will pay a dangerous price if this ill-conceived bill becomes law. They should reject this bill and any bill that cuts coverage, reduces protections, and raises costs for Georgians.
We need you to #ProtectOurCare
We know how hard you all have worked over the last several weeks to defeat the AHCA. We want to thank you for your time and advocacy, but our work continues. It is imperative that Senator Isakson and Senator Perdue hear a swift and powerful message from their constituents–you! Call them today to tell them to reject the American Health Care Act.
Senator Isakson: 770-661-0999
Senator Perdue: 404-865-0087
Help us stop the American Health Care Act
Congressional leaders worked overtime last weekend to convince their colleagues to vote for the increasingly harmful American Health Care Act, legislation that would dismantle Medicaid and threaten the coverage of millions of Americans. There is many healthcare jobs that you can perform in order to help others. They are publicly saying they are close to having the votes they need to pass this bill and we should take them seriously. We need your help to tell Congress again that the AHCA is bad for Georgians. There are three things you can do.
If you have two minutes
Now is the time for your member of Congress to hear from you. Demand that our lawmakers put the best interests of Georgians and our state ahead of partisan politics. Call your member of Congress today to tell him to vote “NO” on the AHCA.
Don’t know what to say? Here’s some help.
If you have five minutes
First call your members of Congress (see above). Then tell your friends, family, and social media networks that you made the call to your members of Congress and they can too! Use this tweet and Facebook post to spread the word!
If you or a family member benefit from Georgia’s Medicaid program, join the #IamMedicaidGA social media campaign! Policymakers need to know that real Georgians will be impacted by their vote on the AHCA. Get started here!
If you have 15 minutes
First call your members of Congress (see above). Then write a letter to the editor (LTE) and send it to your local newspaper. LTEs allow you to reach a broader audience and educate your community about local impacts. Plus, members of Congress monitor their local papers to track what issues are important to their constituents. Our grassroots toolkit has several example LTEs to help you get started and you can submit your letter through this page on our website.