Peach Pulse | COVID-19 vaccines, telehealth, & health care for low-wage Georgia workers, plus more!

Despite incredible challenges, the GHF team achieved tremendous success in 2020 and we’re excited to share these accomplishments with you! In our 2020 annual report, we tell the stories of three key initiatives, why your support mattered, and how our work moved Georgia towards a healthier, more equitable future!

We hope you will read and share GHF’s efforts to amplify the voices of Georgians on urgent health issues. We invite you to celebrate our 2020 accomplishments and supporting our continued efforts with a recurring or one-time donation. Thank you!

MEDICAID & DISABILITY: ONE FAMILY’S JOURNEY
Navigating health care and coverage in Georgia

Medicaid provides health insurance to many different Georgians. including those living with disabilities. Our latest blog features a first-hand account from a Georgia mother whose 9-year-old daughter, Amelia, is covered by Medicaid. Her daughter was diagnosed with Ataxic Cerebral Palsy at 18 months. Since her diagnosis, the two have navigated challenging care and coverage issues. Their experiences highlight a number of the policy and advocacy issues that GHF works hard to address: Medicaid, difficulty finding health care providers, the role of public health in Georgia, and support for caregivers.

Learn more about Amelia and her family’s experience navigating Medicaid in Georgia.

 

 

 

 

NEW RELEASES ON COVID-19 VACCINES, TELEHEALTH,
& MEDICAID EXPANSION
I got my shot!

If you’re looking to be on trend, healthy, and smart this summer then it’s time to talk about COVID-19 vaccines! In our latest blog, GHF’s Communications & Special Projects Manager, Michelle Conde shares her experience and why she recommends others get vaccinated too.

Visit our blog to read more about Michelle’s vaccination experience!

¡Visite nuestro blog para leer más sobre la experiencia de vacunación de Michelle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


New! Analysis from GHF on telehealth & broadband

Through our Georgians in the Driver’s Seat initiative, GHF and The Arc Georgia found that transportation and internet access are two closely related social determinants of health. When one or both are available, access to health care can be easy and when they are missing, Georgians struggle to access health services.

Our newest report, Telemedicine and broadband internet access: A tool, not a cure to transportation-related barriers to care reflects on the expansion of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, its role in reducing transportation-related barriers to health care, and policies needed to physically and digitally connect consumers to care.

Read and share the new report to learn more about the intersection of health transportation and internet access.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Medicaid expansion: For Georgia’s essential & rural workers

A new report from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families (CCF) adds more fuel to the push for Medicaid expansion in Georgia! CCF found that cashiers, cooks, maids and housekeeping staff, waiters/waitresses, and freight and stock laborers are among the most common jobs held by low-wage, uninsured Georgia workers. The report also features an interactive map showing that the rate of uninsured workers in each Georgia county and that rural counties would benefit from most from Medicaid expansion. Check it out at CoverGa.org and share!

Cover Georgia has added another great resource to its blog: an easy-to-understand explanation of the new financial deal available to our state for Medicaid expansion. In addition to the 601 studies proving that Medicaid expansion is a good choice for Georgia, our state can now earn $1.3 Billion by covering low-income workers, parents, veterans, and other adults. That amount would cover the costs of Medicaid expansion for 2 years and leave our state with significant savings to put towards other priorities. Take action by learning and sharing why Medicaid expansion is a deal too good to pass up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GHF IN THE NEWS
Georgetown Study Suggests Georgia Should Take Medicaid Expansion Deal
GPB | April 30, 2021


Report: Low-income workers would benefit most from Medicaid expansion in Georgia
Gwinnett Daily Post | April 29, 2021

MORE >

Peach Pulse | Celebrate Medicaid! James in Lamar Co., and more!

MEDICAID IS WORTH CELEBRATING
Celebrate Medicaid Awareness Month by taking action!

Medicaid has been an integral part of Georgia’s health care system for 54 years. Over the last 16 months, Medicaid has stepped up to serve as a first responder during the COVID-19 pandemic. This incredible public health insurance program has helped our state weather the crisis, but it could do even more!

 

Our state leaders have a new opportunity to promote the health of Georgians across the state through Medicaid expansion. Under the recently passed American Rescue Plan, Georgia is eligible to receive a $1.3-$2 Billion bonus for finally expanding Medicaid coverage to low-income adults. This is a deal too good to pass up!

 

Don’t miss your chance to celebrate April as Medicaid Awareness Month and urge Georgia policy makers to expand on Medicaid’s successful legacy by taking action with us today!

  1. Write a letter to the editor (LTE)
    Your letter will spread the word in your community and to your state leaders (that’s right, they read these letters!) about Medicaid and the too-good-to-pass-up deal available to expand it. We have made it easy for you with these two tools:

  2. Learn more about Medicaid. Find out who is already covered by Medicaid in Georgia, how Medicaid benefits our health care system, and much more with these resources:
  3. Spread the word on social media! Share one of our Facebook or Twitter posts and let others know that it’s time to take action on Medicaid expansion!

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHO IS IMPACTED BY GEORGIA’S
HEALTH CARE TRANSPORTATION CRISIS
James and the need for change in Lamar County

Transportation is a fundamental building block for adequate access to health care. Each year millions of Americans miss or delay health care because they do not have a way to get there. Through the Georgians in the Driver’s Seat initiative, GHF has talked with folks around the state about their transportation needs and how it impacts their health.

 

Lamar County resident James has observed firsthand some of the gaps in Georgia’s Medicaid transportation system. Because of it’s inefficiencies, James’ elderly mother has to find other ways to get to and from her local senior center, which she attends to stay mentally and physically healthy.

 

“Transportation is an area that needs to be focused on, particularly in rural communities and, at least particularly for the special needs population and folks who may not have resources and have some socio-economic challenges” said James about the transportation issues and potential solutions in his county and throughout Georgia.

 

Learn more about James and his experiences in Lamar County in our latest blog.

 

 

 

 

HAPPENINGS AT GHF
Changes in health care and policy in the 2021 legislative session

Following the close of Georgia’s 2021 legislative session, Georgians for a Healthy Future and the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute hosted a wrap-up conversation to highlight the session’s most important health-related outcomes. Special guest Representative Matthew Wilson joined in to tell us how the legislature’s work will impact your health, health care, and health coverage. If you missed this great discussion, it is available now on GHF’s Facebook page!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


An essential conversation on COVID, Medicaid, & Disability with GHF and Rev Up Georgia!

This dynamic session provided participants with a better understanding of COVID-19’s impact and the role of Medicaid on Georgia’s disability community. Led and facilitated by Georgians with disabilities, the discussion centered their perspectives on health advocacy, today’s most important health policy issues, how they are stepping up to be leaders in their communities, and how you can too! If you missed it, visit GHF’s Facebook page to watch it on demand!

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW AT GHF!
GHF welcomes Amir Jones to Board of Directors

GHF recently welcomed Amir Jones to the Board of Directors! From his years as an advocate for health care access, Amir brings a breadth of experience and expertise that will inform and guide GHF’s work over his term of service. Join us in welcoming Amir to the board! Learn more about GHF’s Board of Directors and Staff on our website.

 

 

 

 

 

GHF IN THE NEWS
Georgians Taking Advantage Of Special Enrollment On Exchange
GPB | April 14, 2021


Georgians jumping on insurance exchange
Albany Herald | April 14, 2021


State report: Georgia will focus on health disparities
Albany Herald | April 19, 2021

MORE >

Peach Pulse | Legislative session ends tonight, new GHF team members, & news on ACA enrollment!

LEGISLATIVE SESSION COMING TO AN END
Georgia’s 2021 legislative session ends tonight!

Georgia’s 2021 legislative session is set to wrap up tonight! Today is the final day of session, also called “Sine Die”. You can find a full list of health related legislation, including whether or not a bill is still awaiting a final vote, at GHF’s legislative tracker here. You can also follow the live House & Senate debates and votes here at legis.ga.gov.

 

GHF will send our next legislative update this Friday with a run-down of which health bills made it over the finish line before the General Assembly gaveled out. You can find a full list of health related legislation at GHF’s legislative tracker.

 

 

 

 

 

A DEAL TOO GOOD TO PASS UP
Tell state leaders to take the best deal for all Georgians

Our state leaders have a new opportunity to promote the health of Georgians across the state! Under the recently passed American Rescue Plan, Georgia is eligible to receive a $1.3 Billion incentive for expanding Medicaid coverage to low-income adults. The new funding covers the costs of Medicaid expansion and leaves $710 million available to spend on other state priorities.

Your friends and family, and our state leaders need to know about this exciting deal so our state can take advantage of it! Last week Cover Georgia placed these full-page ads in newspapers across the state to let our elected leaders know that Medicaid expansion is a deal too good to pass up.

 

Over 500,000 Georgians remain uninsured, rural hospitals continue to close, and our health care system struggles to keep up because Georgia leaders have refused to expand Medicaid. It’s time to close Georgia’s coverage gap, extend health coverage to half a million Georgians, and accelerate Georgia’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Share the Cover Georgia ad and the new CoverGA.org/GoodDeal page with your elected officials. Let them know that Medicaid expansion is the best deal for Georgia!

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPENING NOW! COVID-19 VACCINES & HEALTH INSURANCE
All Georgians 16+ now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine!

Last week all Georgia residents 16 years and older became eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. COVID-19 vaccines protect you from getting seriously ill and keep your loved ones safe from catching the virus. Here are a few resources to help you schedule your vaccine appointment:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Starting tomorrow: Thousands of Georgians newly eligible for discounted health insurance at healthcare.gov

Most Georgians who qualify for health insurance and financial help through the Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”) are still uninsured. Help us spread the word!

Healthcare.gov is open now and starting tomorrow, April 1st, Georgians qualify for new discounts on their coverage thanks to the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Georgians can shop for and enroll in affordable, quality health plans now through August 15, 2021.

With the ARP’s added financial help, 127,000 uninsured, middle-income Georgians are eligible for discounts that lower their health insurance costs. Another 134,900 uninsured Georgians with low or modest incomes qualify for lower or zero-dollar ($0) premiums who enroll in plans through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace.

Find out what discounts you or your loved ones may be eligible for with this easy calculator from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Then shop and enroll at healthcare.gov or 1-800-318-2596!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW AT GHF!
GHF welcomes new Health Policy Analyst and Organizing Manager

This month, GHF welcomed Whitney Griggs as our new Health Policy Analyst and Knetta Adkins as our new Organizing Manager.

 

Whitney will lead GHF’s research, data, and policy analysis work so that GHF remains evidence-based and data-driven. Knetta will build and grow GHF’s outreach and organizing efforts, keeping GHF in touch with the most important health care stakeholders—Georgia’s health care consumers.

 

We are so pleased to have Whitney and Knetta join the GHF staff! Visit our website to learn more about Whitney, Knetta, and the rest of GHF’s team!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


GHF joins partners to address medical billing & collections practices at Southwest Georgia hospitals

In partnership with Georgia Watch and SOWEGA Rising, GHF is pleased to announce our participation in the Community Benefit and Economic Stability Project (new link). The focus of this initiative is to work with community groups and local health care providers to address local needs around medical billing and debt in southwest Georgia. This project is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Georgia team will receive technical assistance from Community Catalyst.

 

Check out the new initiative page from Community Catalyst to learn more about this project and look for updates from GHF and our partners as we begin this exciting work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GHF IN THE NEWS
Georgians rush to sign up for ACA insurance during special enrollment period
Henry Herald | March 8, 2021


Foundation grant aimed at medical billing, debt in southwest Georgia
Henry Herald | March 10, 2021


Clearer path for Georgia children to receive Medicaid passes General Assembly
Albany Herald | March 10, 2021


Will New Incentives For Medicaid Expansion Sway Georgia Leaders?
GPB | March 15, 2021


The Jolt: COVID relief will be at center of the storm in Georgia politics
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | March 15, 2021


Federal stimulus bill brings insurance price breaks for many Georgians
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | March 16, 2021


COVID Relief Plan could help cut ACA insurance costs
Albany Herald | March 17, 2021


Medicaid Expansion Bid Gains as Holdout States Eye New Perk
Bloomberg Government | March 19, 2021


Ga. GOP bets on limited Medicaid expansion despite fed’s push for more
Georgia Recorder | March 29, 2021

MORE >

Peach Pulse | Advocacy in SwGA, new health transportation data, Gov.’s Medicaid plan hits a roadblock, & more!

NEW REPORT FROM GEORGIANS IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT
Three out of four Georgia counties found to be health transportation shortage areas

Through our Georgians in the Driver’s Seat initiative, GHF and The Arc Georgia examined how transportation impacts access to health care in Georgia. In the first of two reports, GHF looks at data about each Georgia county to examine where Georgians may face the highest hurdles getting to and from health services because of transportation shortages. Our analysis suggests Georgians in most counties face some transportation-related barriers. GHF paired the analysis with input from consumers and health care providers to offer recommendations for policy solutions.

 

Check out your county’s results and learn how Georgia advocates, policy makers, and community members can work together to eliminate transportation as a barrier to health and health care!

Stay tuned for our follow-up report on the intersection of internet access, transportation, and health care!

 

 

 

 

 

GOVERNOR’S HEALTH CARE PLAN HITS ROADBLOCK
Federal government rolls back approval of Gov. Kemp’s partial Medicaid expansion plan

Georgia’s state leaders continue to reject Medicaid expansion for a plan that would cover far fewer Georgians, impose burdensome work requirements, and leave millions in Georgia’s tax dollars on the table. But recently federal officials hit the brakes on the Governor’s plan, saying the proposed work requirements violate federal law and a recent Executive Order from President Biden. Georgia still has an option to cover more people through Medicaid expansion!

Federal officials will now revisit the thousands of comments Georgians submitted about the Governor’s plan since November 2019. Nine out of ten commenters opposed the Governor’s plan and supported Medicaid expansion instead! These comments will influence how federal officials negotiate with state leaders about the Governor’s plan.

What’s next for the Governor’s plan is a bit unclear, but Georgia still has the option to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of Georgians! Even better, Congress’s upcoming COVID-19 relief package would increase Medicaid funding to more than cover the cost of full expansion for the first two years. Our state must take advantage of this one-time deal to expand Medicaid! Ask your state leaders to act now and expand Medicaid!

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPENING NOW!
Special enrollment period runs through May 15th!

Healthcare.gov is open for a special enrollment period from February 15 to May 15, 2021. Georgians have another chance to shop for quality, affordable health plans and enroll in coverage. Nine out of ten Georgians qualify for financial help to lower their premiums and other costs! Most Georgians who qualify for health insurance & financial help through the Affordable Care Act (also called “Obamacare”) are still uninsured. So help us spread the word!

If you need help figuring out if you qualify, how much financial help you can get, or have other questions, contact our partners at the Georgia Primary Care Association. Their help is free and unbiased:

  • Online help is here. Scroll to the bottom of the page to fill out the form for help
  • By phone: 1-844-442-7421

If you or your loved ones need more information about how health insurance works, what to do after you have signed up, and more, GHF has you covered! Check out GHF’s Get Help with Health Insurancelibrary so you and yours get covered and stay covered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2021 legislative session crosses half-way point

The Georgia legislative session is more than half-way over, but there is still plenty of opportunity for consumer-driven health policies to be approved by legislators! You can view a full list of the health legislation that we are tracking here. Here are a few of the bills we are currently monitoring and supporting:

  • SB 80, the Ensuring Transparency in Prior Authorization Act, is sponsored by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick and aims to increase access to care by putting common sense guardrails around prior authorization. (Learn more about prior authorization in our February 8th legislative update.) The Senate Insurance Committee approved SB 80 this week.
  • HB 163, sponsored by Rep. Sharon Cooper, directs Georgia’s Medicaid program to adopt “express lane” eligibility for kids who qualify for Medicaid coverage. The change would make it easier for uninsured Georgia kids who already qualify for Medicaid to enroll and stay covered. The House passed HB 163 earlier this month and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved it this week.
  • SB 172, sponsored by Sen. Gloria Butler, would allow Georgia to fully expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Georgia is one of only 12 states that continues to reject federal money to cover low-income adults. Medicaid expansion would cover more than 500,000 Georgians. SB 172 has not yet been considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW AT GHF!
GHF joins Voices for Health Justice project to build health advocacy capacity in Southwest Georgia

Voices for Health Justice is a new initiative led by Community Catalyst, Community Change, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The focus of this initiative is to develop and strengthen engagement in health advocacy through grassroots organizing, racial justice, and anti-racism.

 

In the Georgia Voices for Health Justice project, GHF and our project partners at Georgia Equality and the New Georgia Project will work with Black and brown community members in Southwest Georgia.  Using a leadership development model, community members will learn health advocacy and organizing skills so they are prepared to lead effective community-driven advocacy that improves health outcomes and builds racial equity.

 

Check out this press release from Community Catalyst to learn more about this project and look for updates from GHF and our partners as we begin this exciting work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


GHF’s donor self-service portal puts you in charge

When you give to GHF, you guarantee that our organization can effectively organize and amplify the voices of Georgia health care consumers now and in the future!
Donors to GHF can now use our new donor self-service portal (just below our existing donation form) to manage your donations, and update your payment and contact information. Your supporter account makes it easier for you to ensure your gifts are having the biggest impact at GHF. Thank you for your support and for helping GHF make a difference!
Not yet a donor to GHF? You can give a one-time or monthly donation here!

SIGN UP SO YOU CAN GET IN LINE FOR YOUR VACCINES
Georgia Governor and Department of Public Health debut new website to register for COVID-19 vaccination 

Last week, Governor Kemp and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) announced a new website where Georgians can pre-register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Eligible Georgians can book appointments through MyVaccineGeorgia.com and those who are not yet eligible can sign up to be notified when they become eligible.

Current vaccine priority list:

  • Front-line health care workers
  • Residents of long-term care facilities (like nursing homes)
  • Adults over the age of 65
  • First responders, including law enforcement and firefighters

 

 

 

 

 

GHF IN THE NEWS
Parity Law Aims To Equalize Mental Health And Addiction Coverage With Physical Care
GPB | February 11, 2021


Georgia lawmakers move to get more children insured
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | February 12, 2021


Biden administration threatens Medicaid work requirements in state
Albany Herald | February 13, 2021


Kemp’s health care overhaul in Georgia thrown into limbo
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | February 15, 2021


Biden administration puts Georgia Medicaid overhaul on hold
CBS 46 | February 16, 2021


‘Express lane’ children’s Medicaid bill clears Georgia State House
Gwinnett Daily Post | February 16, 2021


Special enrollment period now open for ACA, could benefit thousands of Georgians without health care
WSB-TV | February 17, 2021


Georgia leader’s Medicaid plan halted by agency
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette | February 17, 2021


Ossoff pitches COVID relief plan as Georgia ramps up vaccine output
Georgia Recorder | February 19, 2021

MORE >

Peach Pulse | Legislative session begins, COVID-19 vaccines, & a chance to join the GHF team!

HEALTH CARE UNSCRAMBLED AVAILABLE ON-DEMAND!

Thank you for (virtually) joining us!

Thanks to you, GHF’s 11th annual Health Care Unscrambled was a huge success! We were thrilled to have so many advocates, policy makers, health care providers, and public health professionals join us for this year’s virtual event!

HCU 2021 sessions available on-demand!

Not a morning person? Had another meeting during one of this year’s Health Care Unscrambled sessions? No worries! Recordings of each session are available in our digital program now. Our digital program also features photos, slides, and materials from each session for your convenience.

Don’t forget! GHF has you covered for the 2021 Georgia legislative session. Review GHF’s 2021-2022 policy priorities, track health-related legislation, and contact your elected officials on our website and in your inbox each week.
TAKE ACTION FOR YOUR COMMUNITY!

Ask your local public health officials to prioritize equity when giving out the COVID-19 vaccine

Communities of color, low-income families & individuals, immigrant communities, and rural areas in Georgia have been hardest hit by COVID-19. In order for Georgia to successfully and effectively recover from COVID-19, our state needs a vaccine distribution plan that prioritizes equity and puts the communities hit hardest at the front of the line.

 

Your local public health (PH) officials are making a lot of specific decisions about how vaccines are distributed in your community. You have the chance to influence those decisions now! Ask your local PH district leaders to present their plans to the community, including how racial equity is built into the plan, and get public input. Contact your public health officials today!


Ask your legislator to commit to Medicaid expansion!

Over 560,000 Georgians are still waiting for Georgia leaders to make the right choice and expand Medicaid. State leaders can expand Medicaid at any time and we are asking them to publicly commit to doing just that in 2021! By expanding the Medicaid health insurance program, thousands more Georgians would gain health coverage and access to care if they become sick without the worry of unaffordable medical bills afterward. Georgia is one of only 12 states that have not yet done the right thing by expanding Medicaid. Our legislators can make 2021 a brighter, healthier year for all Georgians! Ask state leaders to make a New Year’s resolution for Medicaid expansion today.

THE GHF TEAM IS GROWING!

GHF welcomes three new board members

Chastity Walker, Jenny Besse, and Abbie Fuksman have all joined the GHF Board of Directors! These three board members bring a breadth of experience and knowledge that will help to inform and guide GHF’s work over their terms of service. Join us in welcoming our new board members and learn more about GHF’s Board of Directors and Staff on our website.


GHF is hiring a full-time Organizing Manager!

You can join the GHF team by applying to be our new Organizing Manager! The Organizing Manager will be responsible for directing collaborative coalition strategies and leading outreach, education, & organizing initiatives directly with Georgia consumers. The Organizing Manager will work closely with the rest of the GHF team to advance policies that foster a healthy, equitable Georgia. Please visit GHF’s Employment Opportunities page for more information about this position and how to apply.

GHF IN THE NEWS

Annual Legislative Suppers, Breakfasts Go Digital As The Legislative Session Gets Underway
GPB | January 11, 2021


Advocates hope lawmakers step-up to fill mental health need amplified by pandemic
Union Recorder | January 13, 2021


Providers Sue Trump Administration Over Approval Of Georgia Plans To Nix Healthcare.gov
WABE | January 15, 2021


Georgia’s slow COVID vaccine rollout exposes broad public health shortfall
Georgia Recorder | January 20, 2021

MORE >