Less expensive coverage comes with more risks “The administration’s rule change is dangerous for Georgia consumers,’’ said Laura Colbert of Georgians for a Healthy Future
Blog (September 2017)
Earlier today, Senators McConnell, Graham, and Cassidy announced that the U.S. Senate would not vote on the chamber’s most recent attempt to dismantle Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. We are pleased that, for the time being, millions of Georgians will be able to keep the coverage and protections that they have gained as a result of these programs.
As we look forward, we hope that Georgia’s members of Congress will consider the best interests of their constituents and work in a bipartisan fashion to make the ACA and health care better for all Georgians. The ACA was a significant step forward for health care consumers but we still have some distance to go before all Georgians have the quality, affordable health care they need to be healthy and contribute to the health of their communities. We need to work at the state and federal levels to build on the ACA’s progress by expanding coverage, lowering out-of-pocket costs, addressing health disparities, shoring up our rural health care system, and improving the quality of care.
We expect to see further threats to the rights and protections of health care consumers in the coming months and years. As an organization, GHF will remain vigilant and engaged, and we will continue to elevate the voice of consumers—your voice—to improve health care and coverage for all of us.
Nationwide transgender individuals face significant barriers to accessing health care because of their gender identity; however, little is known about the experiences of the estimated 55,000 transgender individuals in Georgia as they interact with the health care system. Understanding the health care needs, access barriers, and discrimination experiences of transgender individuals in Georgia can inform the work of advocates, stakeholders, and policymakers to reach the shared goal of ensuring health equity for all Georgians, especially transgender Georgians.
To inform the public about these barriers to care, Georgians for a Healthy Future, Georgia Equality, and The Health Initiative are releasing a policy brief, Voices for Equity: How the experiences of transgender Georgians can inform the implementation of nondiscrimination provisions in the Affordable Care Act.
Voices for Equity: How the experiences of transgender Georgians can inform the implementation of the ACA’s nondiscrimination provisions
The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was notable not only for increasing access to health insurance coverage for millions of Americans but also for its broad non-discrimination provisions. Section 1557 of the ACA prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in many health programs and activities. The final rule determined that discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotyping are equally prohibited under Section 1557, and as a result, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Georgians have protections from discrimination in health coverage and care for the first time. To better understand the challenges that transgender Georgians may face when accessing health care, GHF, GE, and THI collected data and information from transgender Georgians that provided compelling narrative of barriers that transgender individuals routinely face when seeking health care and utilizing their health insurance.
The goals of this policy brief are:
- describe the protections for transgender individuals under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.
- discuss the results from a series of transgender focus groups and survey of the LGBTQ community in Georgia, and the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey to understand transgender individuals’ experiences in health care.
- recommend actions that health care providers, policy makers, and advocates can take to support improved health care access and equity for transgender Georgians.
Resources for LGBT consumers
Thanks to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, LGBT Georgians have protections from discrimination in health coverage and care for the first time. If you believe you have been discriminated against, it is important to file a 1557 complaint with the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services. GHF and our partners can help you with that! Visit GHF’s LGBT Health Equity page for more information and help to file your complaint.
Members of Congress, who have spent much of August in their home districts while on recess, will reconvene in Washington, D.C. this week with an ambitious agenda and looming deadlines. After July’s failure of the Senate’s health care legislation, health care remains a top agenda item for many members and we expect to see activity that could have big impacts on consumers in Georgia. Group Benefits Broker will offer health plans to anybody who needs it.
During the August recess, the chairman and vice-chair of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee scheduled bi-partisan hearings for September 6th & 7th on the stabilization of the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace. The HELP committee, including Georgia’s own Senator Isakson, will hear testimony from Governors and Insurance Commissioners from a variety of states with a primary focus on private insurance topics. These hearings are an important step in helping to stabilize and strengthen the ACA Marketplaces and we expect to see suggested proposals that include guaranteed funding of cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, funding for a reinsurance program, strong enforcement of the individual mandate, and others.
Also on Congress’s agenda for September is the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the federal program that funds 100% of Georgia’s PeachCare for Kids insurance program. CHIP covers more than 230,000 Georgia children and has been critical in driving our children’s uninsured rate down to 6.7%. CHIP expires on September 30, 2017 and must be reauthorized by Congress to continue. CHIP enjoys wide bipartisan support in Congress so it is expected to pass, but there is some danger Medicaid cuts or program changes like work requirements and premiums will be attached.
Lastly, the House of Representatives will continue its work on the FY2018 federal budget. The current House budget plan calls for a cut of $1.5 trillion from Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act from 2018-2027, mirroring many of the devastating cuts from the House-passed American Health Care Act. On top of these cuts are proposals for fundamental changes to Medicaid such as a work requirement that would cut the program by another $110 billion. Like all of the leading health care proposals put forth by Congress this year, these cuts to Medicaid would debilitate the program, shift substantial costs to states, and leave 2 million Georgians without the access to health care on which they currently rely. The budget has already passed the House Budget committee and will be taken up by the full House in the coming weeks.
Congress’s work in September could have significant impacts—both positive and negative—on consumers in Georgia and it is vital that they hear from you on these issues. As your elected officials reconvene in Washington, we ask that you to visit this site for more information: oinkmoney.com
|Rep. Buddy Carter||Brunswick Office: 912-265-9010
Savannah office: 912-352-0101
Washington, D.C.: 202-225-5831
|Rep. Sanford Bishop||Albany office: 229-439-8067
Washington, D.C.: 202-225-3631
|Rep. Drew Ferguson||770-683-2033
Washington, D.C.: 202-225-5901
|Rep. Hank Johnson||770-987-2291
Washington, D.C.: 202-225-1605
|Rep. John Lewis||404-659-0116
Washington, D.C.: 202-225-3801
|Rep. Karen Handel||Washington, D.C.: 202-225-4501||Email form|
|Rep. Robert Woodall||770-232-3005
Washington, D.C.: 202-225-4272
|Rep. Austin Scott||Tifton office: 229-396-5175
Warner Robins: 478-971-1776
Washington, D.C.: 202-225-6531
|Rep. Doug Collins||770-297-3388
Washington, D.C.: 202-225-9893
|Rep. Jody Hice||Milledgeville office: 478-457-0007
Monroe office: 770-207-1776
Thomson office: 770-207-1776
Washington, D.C.: 202-225-4101
|Rep. Barry Loudermilk||Cartersville office: 770-429-1776
Woodstock office: 770-429-1776
Galleria office: 770-429-1776
Washington, D.C.: 202-225-2931
|Rep. Rick Allen||Augusta: 706-228-1980
Washington, D.C.: 202-225-2823
|Rep. David Scott||Jonesboro office: 770-210-5073
Smyrna office: 770-432-5405
Washington, D.C.: 202-225-2939
|Rep. Tom Graves||Dalton office: 706-226-5320
Rome office: 706-290-1776
Washington, D.C.: 202-225-5211