Peach Pulse | Health care waivers around the corner and nominate your health care hero

Right around the corner
Changes in health care for Georgians coming soon

In March 2019, Georgia lawmakers approved SB 106, the Patients First Act. The law allows Georgia leaders to make potentially seismic changes to health coverage in the state. These changes could impact the way that you, your friends and family, and Georgians all across the state access and pay for health care. Georgia leaders are expected to announced their proposed changes in the next few weeks.

What to expect

Because Georgia leaders are using health care “waivers” to make their proposed changes, they must seek input from the public about their ideas. Here is what you need to know about the coming public comment periods:

  • The public comment periods are your chance to weigh in about how the changes will impact you, your loved ones, and your community!
  • There will be multiple public comment periods and they are all equally important! Make a plan to comment each time.
  • GHF and our Cover Georgia partners will let you know when the public comment periods begin and end and will provide an easy way for you to have your say.
  • In other states, public comments from people just like you have been the most powerful tool available to expand quality coverage to more people.

Make a plan to let state leaders know how their ideas will impact you and your family! Your comments can bring affordable, quality health coverage to all Georgians. Stay tuned!

Call for nominations
Less than 2 weeks left to nominate a health care hero

GHF will host its tenth annual Health Care Unscrambled legislative breakfast on January 14, 2020. This year’s event includes the presentation of the Linda S. Lowe Advocacy Award, which is given each year to an advocate whose work advances access to quality, affordable health care in Georgia.

We want you to tell us who should be recognized!

Nominees can be professional or volunteer advocates who work to achieve policy change for marginalized populations. This award is named in honor of Linda Smith Lowe. Linda dedicated her career to serving as an advocate on behalf of under-resourced Georgians who need a voice on health and human services issues.

Read about last year’s awardee and nominate your own health care hero!

Submit your award nominations by Monday, November 4, 2019.

Just in time for open enrollment

GHF releases annual Getting Georgia Covered report

Georgians for a Healthy Future is pleased to release its annual Getting Georgia Covered report. The annual publication tells the story of how Georgia individuals and families are faring in Georgia’s health insurance marketplace. It examines how last year’s open enrollment period differed from the previous five, presents enrollment and cost data and identifies policy opportunities to increase enrollment, ensure access to care, address affordability, and protect Georgia consumers.

Mark your calendars! opens for business on November 1st! Consumers can browse available plans now and enroll in coverage from November 1 to December 15, 2019. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn and share messages about open enrollment to help raise awareness about the opportunity to gain health insurance, the availability of financial assistance, and how to find enrollment help.

Rural roofer is stuck in coverage gap

Rural Georgians continue to struggle without coverage

Philip is a part-time roofer living in Fort Gaines, Georgia, a rural community in the southwest region of the state. While repairing a roof at work, Philip suffered a knee injury and a herniated disc in his back. Because he is uninsured and can’t pay much, Philip has been repeatedly refused the medical care that he needs to recover and get back to work.

Like Philip, 360,000 low-income Georgians, many of whom are uninsured, live in small towns and rural areas across the state. They have the most at stake in the debate over whether or not to close Georgia’s health insurance coverage gap. For these rural Georgia residents, health coverage would open doors to physicians and health services that they need to stay employed or get back to work. Read more of Philip’s story and see how your story can make an impact!

GHF in the news

Health costs rise for workers, firms
Valdosta Daily Times | September 29, 2019

Tough Choices: High uninsured rate takes toll on free clinics
Statesboro Herald | October 02, 2019


Peach Pulse | Save the date, make your voice heard, and aging with dignity

Save the date

Please join Georgians for a Healthy Future for our tenth annual Health Care Unscrambled policy breakfast.

Each January we bring together legislators, advocates, and national thought leaders to discuss the health care issues facing Georgians. A morning dedicated to finding solutions that improve the health and well-being of all Georgians, Health Care Unscrambled is an event you don’t want to miss. RSVP today!

Sponsorship opportunities are available!

GHF wants to hear from you!
Georgians in the Driver’s Seat launches rider satisfaction survey

Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) is a free service provided to Medicaid-covered Georgians who do not have their own means of transportation to get to health appointments, the pharmacy, and other health facilities. The program is especially important for people with disabilities, seniors, rural residents, and people of color, but sometimes it falls short of its promise. In order to ensure NEMT works well for all Georgians who need it, we need to hear from the people who already use it!

If you have used NEMT or know someone who has, we want to hear from you! Please answer a few questions in our NEMT rider survey. Your responses will help the Georgians in the Driver’s Seat team fight for much-needed improvements in Georgia’s NEMT system.


Make your voice heard through the Georgia Health Action Network

Join the Georgia Health Action Network (GHAN) for more updates, tools, and opportunities for advocacy with GHF!

GHAN is a volunteer consumer health advocacy program that aims to develop grassroots consumers into effective agents for change. GHF welcomes all who are interested to join our monthly GHAN calls. During these calls, GHF staff share current advocacy opportunities, best practices for engaging with policy makers about timely issues, and answer member questions about organizing for positive change.

Sign up for GHAN action alerts here and email GHF’s Outreach & Education Manager Alyssa Green if you’re interested in participating in the GHAN program!

In case you missed it

Aging with dignity: Georgia seniors need Medicaid

Sherry is 77 years old and lives independently in Murray County in north Georgia. Sherry is one of over half a million seniors and people with disabilities in Georgia who depend on Medicaid and Medicare to live and age in their communities. Thanks to Medicaid, Sherry is able to afford the medications she needs to live a functional and healthy life. Medicaid and Medicare also make it possible to spend her weekdays at RossWoods Day Center where she does arts and crafts and takes part in social activities designed to keep her brain and body healthy. For 168,000 seniors like Sherry who typically live on low, fixed incomes Medicaid makes the difference and helps to pay the costs of their Medicare coverage. Read more of Sherry’s story and see how sharing your story can make an impact!

GHF in the news

Kemp backs new health plan for rural Georgians
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | September 03, 2019

Kemp Backs New Insurance Option Aimed At Rural Georgia
WABE | September 03, 2019

Anthem is in yet another contract dispute with a Georgia health system
The Georgia Sun | September 03, 2019

Anthem Faces Contract Standoff, Launches New Health Plan In Georgia
WABE | September 04, 2019

High uninsured rate takes toll on free clinics
The Union Recorder | September 27, 2019

Employer survey again shows higher costs for workers, firms
Gwinnett Daily Post | September 27, 2019



Peach Pulse | New videos, GHF in Macon, and Project AWARE



Following the passage of the Patients First Act earlier this year, Cover Georgia (co-led by GHF) is proud to present new videos designed to help you follow and understand the changes this new law may bring to your health care and finances. These three new videos breakdown what you need to know about how this law could affect health coverage in Georgia, when the changes will be announced and rolled out, and how you can protect your health care from any unwanted changes. Watch and share!


Act now! Ask Governor Kemp to use the Patients First Act to expand coverage to as many Georgians as possible.



Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies: Get to know Project AWARE, Part II

One of the four goals of Georgia’s Project AWARE is to “train educators, first responders, parents and youth group leaders to respond to mental health needs of youth by providing free training in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA).” YMHFA prepares participants to recognize and respond to the signs of adolescent mental health issues. Learn more about Project AWARE and Youth Mental Health First Aid in our latest blog!







GHF co-hosts Health Care Salon with Georgia WomenGeorgians for a Healthy Future and Georgia Women (and Those Who Stand With Us)  co-hosted Health Care Salon: Georgia’s Patients First Act in Macon on Friday July 23rd. This community event brought together Macon residents to learn about Medicaid and Georgia’s new Patients First Act and develop health advocacy skills that can be used to build a healthier community. Read more about this exciting event on our blog. Be on the look-out for similar community events coming soon or contact Alyssa ( or 404-567-5016, ext. 2) to schedule one in your community.







GHF mourns the loss of two close colleagues in recent weeks. Dan Williams, formerly of the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, and Dawn Alford, of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities utilized their respective platforms to pursue a healthy, equitable future for all Georgians. We will miss the curiosity and humility that Dan brought to his work and the passion and humanity that Dawn applied to hers. GHF sends our deepest condolences to their family and friends. We honor their memories with our continued efforts to build the healthy, equitable future they imagined.

Consultant’s application suggests goals for Georgia health care waivers
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | June 21, 2019

Obamacare Lawsuit Has Georgia Advocates Worried
WABE | July 10, 2019

Trump effort to tackle kidney disease could have big impact on Georgia
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | July 19, 2019

What Halting Of Utah’s Medicaid Waiver Plan Could Mean For Georgia
WABE | August 1, 2019

Georgia Has Among Highest Hospital Prices, New Review Suggests
WABE | August 8, 2019

Review: Georgia hospital prices among highest
Statesboro Herald | August 8, 2019


Peach Pulse | Housing is Health, what’s next in waivers, & new behavioral health resources

Happening Now

What’s next with waivers

In March Georgia lawmakers approved the Patients First Act which allows state leaders to make changes to Georgia’s Medicaid and private insurance system using two kinds of health care waivers (an1115 Medicaid waiver and a 1332 waiver). The waivers are expected to be completed by the end of this year and could mean big changes for Georgians and the way they access and pay for health care. Learn more about the waiver timeline here.

These waivers could cover thousands of low-income Georgians but so far Georgia leaders have not committed to making sure that happens. Ask Governor Kemp to use the Patients First Act to expand coverage to as many Georgians as possible.

You will have the opportunity to influence and shape Georgia’s plans for health coverage! Public comment periods for both waivers may begin as early as October 2019. We will make it easy for you to understand the waivers and help you send comments to state and federal decision makers. Check out our new fact sheet for information about how you can influence Georgia’s plans.

Behavioral health at all ages


Two new resources help Georgia adults and youth behavioral health services 

Georgians for a Healthy Future is excited to release two new resources to help young people, adults who care for children, and others find needed mental health and substance use recovery services. Mental Health for Your Children and Young Adults helps adults recognize early indicators of behavioral health issues in kids and points the way to services and resources. Understanding Your Behavioral Health helps young adults and others recognize the signs of behavioral health issues in themselves or friends and family, and assists in finding the right health supports. Download and share today!


Georgia Voices for Medicaid

Webinar brings “Georgia Voices for Medicaid” to your computer

Last year, Georgians for a Healthy Future traveled across the state to host Georgia Voices for Medicaid, a series of community events that helped Georgians better understand Medicaid. Attendees also developed skills to be strong health care advocates. Now, we have published a webinar to bring that content to you! Watch and share this video to learn more about Medicaid and how you can advocate to strengthen it!

Thank you to the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities for their support to create this video series!

Housing is Health networking event

Bringing together housing providers & health advocates

Join GHF, the Georgia Supportive Housing Association, andCommunity Solutions on Tuesday, July 30th from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM for the Housing is Health networking event. The informal event will take place at Community Solutions offices at Telephone Factory Lofts at 828 Ralph McGill Blvd NE, Atlanta, GA. RSVP now to join colleagues and friends for an evening of connecting across sectors!

GHF in the news

State studies health insurer complaints
Stateboro Herald | May 1, 2019

Georgia Finds Many Valid Complaints Against Health Insurers
WABE | May 2, 2019

I-TEAM INVESTIGATION: Patient’s First Act could greatly change Medicaid in Georgia
WRDW | May 23, 2019

Could Georgia Consider Work Requirements For Medicaid?
WABE | June 6, 2019

20k Ga. children lost health coverage in 2018 as uninsured rate grows nationwide
Gainesville Tims | June 9, 2019


Peach Pulse | Children’s Mental Health Day & what’s next for waivers


Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day at the Capitol 2019
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day at the Capitol is tomorrow, Thursday, May 9, 2019 from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot. In order to highlight and combat rising suicide rates among Georgia’s youth, this year’s theme is “Suicide Prevention: Strategies that Work.” Join the Georgia Parent Support Network, Voices for Georgia’s Children, GHF, and others to advocate for children’s access to lifesaving mental health services.




State begins search for health care waiver consultants
Governor Kemp’s administration just announced the next steps they will take to implement SB 106, legislation that allows the state to make changes to Georgia’s Medicaid program and private insurance market through health care “waivers”. The state’s announcement outlining how it will hire consultants to draft the proposed waivers is only the beginning of a process that could result in big changes to Georgia’s health coverage and care systems. Your voice is key to ensuring that these waivers include provisions that support and protect Georgians across the state.

As the process moves forward, GHF will keep you updated about opportunities for advocacy so that you can help us fight for a Georgia where all residents have a pathway to meaningful, affordable health coverage. Read GHF’s blog, Governor signs Patients First Act: What’s next? to learn more about what to expect.


GHF releases three new advocacy videos
GHF recently released three new videos designed to help you become an effective advocate. When your voice is heard, you have the power to bring about change. All you need are the right tools! GHF’s new videos cover essential advocacy skills including sharing your story, meeting your legislators, and using social media for advocacy. Watch and share these videos to help make an impact on the issues you care about most!

Thank you to the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities for their support to create this video series!

A recap of the 2019 Georgia legislative session
Last week, Georgians for a Healthy Future and the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute hosted a webinar to wrap-up the 2019 legislative session. If you missed out on this informative event you can catch up now. Our “Changes in Health Care and Policy in the 2019 Legislative Session” is now available on GHF’s YouTube channel! In this video, we highlight the most important health-related developments in this year’s legislative session, examine the state budget, look back at missed opportunities, and discuss this year’s relevant study committees. Watch now find out how your work, health care, or your coverage may be impacted.

Want more?
Join the Georgia Health Action Network for more updates, tools, and opportunities for advocacy with GHF. The Georgia Health Action Network (GHAN) is a volunteer consumer health advocacy program that aims to develop grassroots consumers into effective agents for change! Through monthly calls and email action alerts, GHAN participants get the most current information available about pressing consumer health issues in Georgia and have the opportunity to plan and lead advocacy efforts locally and across the state. Sign up for GHAN action alerts here and email GHF’s Outreach & Education Manager Alyssa Green if you’re interested in participating in the GHAN program!


Georgia releases data on complaints against insurance companies
The Georgia Sun | May 1, 2019

Surprise billing tug of war continues
Albany Herald | March 26, 2019

Change to surprise billing measure gains ground but draws criticism
Georgia Health News | March 25, 2019

Change To Georgia Surprise Billing Measure Gains Ground But Draws Criticism
WABE | March 25, 2019

CON issue revived in state Senate
Albany Herald | March 22, 2019

Kemp backs bid for CON changes, gets House panel OK on waiver plan
Georgia Health News | March 21, 2019

Kemp Backs Bid For Certificate-Of-Need Changes, Gets House Panel OK On Waiver Plan
WABE | March 21, 2019

Kemp backs bid for CON changes, gets House panel OK on waiver plan
Gwinnett Daily Post | March 21, 2019

Bills that passed Georgia House a “first step” on drug transparency
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | March 6, 2019

Effort to tamp down surprise ER bills faces trouble in Georgia House
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | March 18, 2019


Contact your House member, Health care waivers, 2019 Health Advocates Guide

Happening now: Cover Georgia Day at the Capitol

Tell your elected officials to take action today!

Cover Georgia Day at the Capitol is happening now! Health advocates are at the state Capitol today speaking with legislators about the need to build a pathway to health insurance coverage for all Georgians. We need you to raise your voice with them!

Advocates will be speaking to their state representatives about SB 106, the Patients First Act, which passed the Senate earlier this week. This legislation, as written, falls short of the promise to put a health insurance card in the pockets of all Georgians because it leaves out thousands who would be covered under a full Medicaid expansion (or a similar 1115 waiver) and will likely cost the state more to cover fewer people. Additionally, the bill allows the Governor to make potentially seismic changes to private health insurance in Georgia through 1332 waivers with little accountability. The good news is that it’s not too late for House members to make a few changes that would allow this legislation to benefit more Georgians at a lower cost to the state.

Your state representatives need to hear from you today! Call or send an email to your elected officials today and encourage them to get the best deal that will ensure all Georgians have coverage!


New releases!

New fact sheets put waivers in context

On Tuesday, the Senate passed SB 106, the Patients First Act. The bill allows Georgia’s Governor to pursue two kinds of health care waivers that could make significant changes to health coverage for Georgia consumers: an 1115 Medicaid waiver and 1332 State Innovation waivers. GHF’s partner, Georgia Watch, together with other Cover Georgia coalition partners, has released a fact sheet to help you understand 1115 waivers and how they relate to Georgia’s current debate about Medicaid expansion. Additionally, GHF released a sister fact sheet to help you understand 1332 waivers and how they may impact private health insurance plans in Georgia. Download both today!



Updated for 2019: A Consumer Health Advocates Guide to the Georgia Legislative Session

GHF’s annual Consumer Health Advocate’s Guide is your map for navigating the Georgia legislative session. This annual booklet provides information about Georgia’s legislative process, legislators, and committees, key agency officials, advocate contacts, and more. Experienced advocates and new volunteers will find their way around Georgia’s Capitol more easily with the information provided in this year’s guide.

(Interested in a hard copy? Contact Michelle Conde.)

Medicaid helps seniors too

Maintaining independence for seniors

Charlie Ellison is 87 years old and a long time resident of Dalton, Georgia. Charlie is one of over half a million seniors and people with disabilities in Georgia who depend on Medicaid and Medicare to live with dignity in their communities. Charlie’s Medicaid coverage allows him to visit RossWoods Adult Day Services each day and reduces the costs of his medications so that he remains as healthy and independent as possible. For 168,000 seniors like Charlie who typically rely on low, fixed incomes, Medicaid makes the difference. Read more of Charlie’s story and see how sharing your story can make an impact!

GHF in the news

Momentum builds to seek waiver to cover more Georgians under Medicaid
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | February 5, 2019

What is Certificate of Need? Explaining a Likely Health Care Fight at the Gold Dome
WABE | February 5, 2019

Kemp to seek Medicaid, Obamacare waivers for Georgia
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | February 8, 2019

What’s in the funding deal for health care
Politico Pulse | February 14, 2019

Lawmakers, Advocates Skeptical of Kemp’s Medicaid Waiver Plan
WABE | February 15, 2019

Senate panel backs waiver bill to insure more Georgians
Gwinnett Daily Post | February 20, 2019

Georgia Senate committee approves Medicaid waiver proposal
Athens Banner-Herald | February 20, 2019

Health care waiver bill passes out of committee. Here’s what it could mean for your family
The Georgia Sun | February 20, 2019

Georgia Senate committee approves Gov. Kemp’s Medicaid waiver proposal
FOX 5 Atlanta | February 20, 2019

Under the Gold Dome, lobbyists are sparring over your health care costs
The Georgia Sun | February 22, 2019

Stalemate or solution? Legislative fight over surprise billing renewed
Georgia Health News | February 22, 2019

Georgia legislative fight over surprise billing renewed
Athens Banner-Herald | February 25, 2019

Surprise hospital bills under review
Statesboro Herald | February 25, 2019


Peach Pulse | January 2019




GHF kicks off 2019 legislative session with Health Care Unscrambled breakfast

Thanks to you, this year’s Health Care Unscrambled breakfast was a big success! We were thrilled to have a room packed with advocates, policy makers, and others who joined us for this year’s event. This year’s program began with a personal story from consumer Lori Murdock, who shared her experience struggling to manage a chronic disease without health insurance because she was caught in Georgia’s coverage gap. Our knowledgeable legislative panel then provided valuable insights into the health policy issues they plan to tackle during the 2019 legislative session and in the following months. Afterwards, Dr. David Blumenthal, President of the Commonwealth Fund, brought a wealth of knowledge and insight to our conversation about how innovations in health care and coverage can help us achieve better health outcomes for all Georgians.

You can read the highlights of breakfast on our blog, and be sure to check out our Facebook album to see photos of the event!

Don’t forget! GHF has you covered for the 2019 legislative session. You will receive weekly updates about the health debates at the State capitol, can track health-related legislation on our website, and more.

Save the date
Cover Georgia Day at the Capitol!

Please join us at the state capitol on Thursday, February 28th from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm for Cover Georgia Day! We will be asking state legislators to put insurance cards in the pockets of low-income Georgians who cannot get affordable health care coverage under current law. This is your opportunity to speak to your elected officials and let them know that you support closing Georgia’s coverage gap.

Be on the lookout for further details. An RSVP link will be available soon.


In case you missed it

GHF releases 2019 policy priorities

Georgians for a Healthy Future released its 2019 policy priorities at this year’s annual Health Care Unscrambled legislative breakfast. These annual priorities outline the issues that GHF believes are most pressing for Georgia consumers and are best addressed by the state legislature. GHF will work to move all of these issues forward by engaging state policy makers, consumers, and coalition partners throughout the legislative session and the remainder of the year.

  • Increase the number of Georgians with health insurance.
  • Stabilize Georgia’s health insurance Marketplace
  • Ensure access to care and financial protections for consumers purchasing private health insurance.
  • Set and enforce standards that provide for equitable coverage of mental health and substance use treatment services by health plans.
  • Prevent nicotine use and addiction by young Georgians
  • Support partners in integrating health and equity in the policies across every sector to address social determinants of health that prevent equitable access to care and equitable health status.

Get to know Georgia’s Project Aware

Georgia’s state leadership has made serious efforts to improve Georgia’s system of care through the infusion of additional dollars for children’s mental health services in the state budget and through innovative programs like Project Advancing Wellness and Resilience Education (AWARE). Georgia Project AWARE is a youth mental health initiative focused on improving the experiences of school-aged youth in Georgia. You can begin to learn about Georgia’s Project Aware on our blog and be on the lookout for Getting to know Project AWARE: Part II, where we’ll learn more about Youth Mental Health First Aid and how it helps educators meet the social and emotional needs of their students.

GHF in the news

Health care could have ‘big year’ in Georgia’s legislature
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | January 11, 2019

Health care agenda: Will longtime disputes be resolved in the legislature?
Gwinnett Daily Post | January 11, 2019

Health issues face state Legislators CON law, surprise billing, medical marijuana will draw lawmakers’ attention
Albany Herald | January 12, 2019

NAIC Names 2019 Consumer Liaison Representatives
National Association of Insurance Commissioners | January 15, 2019

Georgians for a Healthy Future encourages stakeholders to become Medicaid advocates 
Making a Difference magazine | January 17, 2019

‘Waiver’ on the way? Kemp signals a plan to increase coverage 
Georgia Health News | January 17, 2019

Democrat Trammell says fiscal analysis proves case for Medicaid expansion
Gwinnett Daily Post | January 23, 2019