Prevention and Public Health Fund at Risk

By Bob Stolarick and Cindy Zeldin

The Affordable Care Act includes a major new investment in prevention and public health:  The Prevention and Public Health Fund is designated for use in communities across the country to target key public health issues such as tobacco cessation and efforts to reduce obesity by encouraging better nutrition and increased physical activity. The funding will also be used to strengthen state and local public health infrastructure, support data collection and analysis for community-based and clinical-based prevention activities and to expand and improve training for the public health workforce. Here in Georgia, these funds will be critical to strengthen our public health system. Visit the official website of Dr Bardwil in Houston, Texas.


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Georgia Unable to Climb out of the Bottom 10 States in Child Well-being

By Taifa Butler


Every summer when the Annie E. Casey Foundation releases its national KIDS COUNT Data Book, which profiles the status of children in all 50 states, I give an account of Georgia’s children. It’s a tale filled with promise yet overshadowed by unrelenting challenges for us all. Georgia’s children are better off than they were since the first publication of the Data Book 21 years ago, but we have a long way to go to improve health outcomes for our kids.


The 2010 KIDS COUNT Data Book ranks Georgia 42 out of 50 states on 10 critical areas related to health, safety, education, and employment. Georgia has historically ranked in the bottom ten states. For the past three years we’ve teetered between 41 and 43. Some would say we’ve hit a plateau, while our evaluators tell us that to break out of the bottom—we were ranked 50th in the first report—is a phenomenal feat given Georgia’s context.


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Is It Worth $10 to Save a Life?

By Benjamin Nanes

This November, Georgians will vote on adding a $10 fee to vehicle registrations, to be directed toward trauma care.  Or is it a tax?  If you listen to the pundits and politicians, the fee versus tax debate defines the referendum.  But they’re wrong; nothing could be less relevant.  Georgia needs dedicated funding for a trauma care system that will save lives and help the state’s economy, not a petty debate over what constitutes a “fee” or a “tax.”  The question is simple.  Is it worth $10 to save a life?  The answer should be simple too. But if you strike up the conversation with customers of places like George’s TreadHunter Tire Shops, you will quickly notice how divided we really are. (more…)


Battle for Smoke-free Savannah Heats Up

By June Deen
American Lung Association in Georgia


Under the umbrella of Healthy Savannah, several organizations including the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids are leading the charge to enact a local smoke-free ordinance in Savannah.  The Savannah City Council has begun public discussion on the Healthy Savannah proposal to make all workplaces and places open to the public smoke-free.  Council members plan two public meetings before the introduction and first reading on August 12.

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2020 Georgia: Why Tax Reform Matters

Georgians for a Healthy Future recently joined 2020 Georgia—a broad alliance of community leaders and organizations—as an alliance partner.  While members of 2020 Georgia range from small, community-based nonprofits to large, statewide organizations, all share the common goal of a balanced approach to state budget and revenue solutions that meet the short and long-term needs of our state and its people.  In advance of the first meeting of the 2010 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians, which has a charge to study the tax system and report to the General Assembly in January 2011, 2020 Georgia released a fact sheet on why tax reform matters for Georgia. It is below in its entirety.

 

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Partner Up! For Public Health Campaign Now Underway

By Charles Hayslett

Late last year our public relations firm, Hayslett Group, was selected by Healthcare Georgia Foundation to organize a campaign to improve Georgia’s public health system.  In the months since then, we’ve been involved in a variety of organizational activities.  Among other things, we’ve conducted Public Health Leadership Academies in four cities across Georgia, recruited nearly 30 high-profile organizations to serve on a campaign advisory board and put up a campaign Web site at www.togetherwecandobetter.com.  Earlier last week we officially and publicly launched the campaign – dubbed “Partner Up! for Public Health” – with a press briefing that was Webcast from Healthcare Georgia’s offices.


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Georgia: $375 Million in the Red

Guest Blog by Joann Yoon, Voices for Georgia’s Children

Thursday, July 1, was the start of Georgia’s 2011 State Fiscal Year, and we began already $375 million behind. The state legislative session which ended on April 29 saw dramatic budget cuts impacting education and other services for children and families. To add insult to injury, Georgia suffered yet another blow resulting from failure of the U.S. Senate to move forward the Federal Jobs Bill, which in part included a provision that would extend an enhanced FMAP to states for an additional 6 months. FMAP, which stands for Federal Medical Assistance Percentages, is a break down of how many Federal dollars Georgia receives to help pay for our state Medicaid program. Given the high unemployment rate and dire financial situations that families in the U.S. were facing, in last year’s Federal Stimulus Bill, Congress instituted an increase in Federal match dollars to all states to help keep their respective Medicaid programs afloat.

 

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Health Care Reform Benefits Taking Shape

By Amanda Ptashkin

Just more than three months ago, the new federal health care law was signed by President Obama. Since that time, pundits and consumers across the country and here in Georgia have been racing to figure out how and when these reform measures will impact us. July 1, two pieces of reform went into effect, and as a result, more Georgians will have access to affordable and quality health care.

The first reform is a high-risk pool, known as the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). For the first time, Georgians who have been without health insurance for the last six months and who have been denied coverage based on a medical condition will be eligible to enroll in the PCIP.


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New Poll Reveals Cancer Patients Struggle to Afford Health Care and Pay Bills in Tough Economic Times

Guest Blog from the American Cancer Society

A new American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) poll of families affected by cancer shows that cancer patients, survivors and their families continue to struggle to afford health care and pay for other basic needs such as food and heat in the troubled economy. The findings suggest the need to implement the Affordable Care Act so that it benefits people with cancer.

 

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Sons and Daughters of Military Personnel Not Benefitting from New Law

By Jeff Cornett RN MSN

Director of Training, Research, & Advocacy
Hemophilia of Georgia


One of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, the new health insurance reform law, is the provision that allows young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.  Officially scheduled to be implemented on September 23, 2010, several insurers have put this benefit into effect early so that spring 2010 graduates can remain insured.


Georgia families covered by one of the largest insurers in our state have been surprised to find that this benefit is not available to them and won’t be unless Congress passes a law to make it so.  These families are covered by TRICARE, the program that provides civilian health benefits for military personnel and their dependents.  The Department of Defense controls all aspects of TRICARE and it is not affected by the Affordable Care Act.  Therefore, military dependents will continue to be pushed out of TRICARE coverage at age 21 (or age 23 if they are full-time students).  TRICARE maintains a webpage to explain this.


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