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Month: January 2022

Legislative Update: Mental health bill introduced, new legislation, General Assembly calendar and more!

Legislative update: Week 3

The GHF team loves bringing you these weekly legislative updates, and you have told us that you enjoy reading them! Our team works hard to deliver this service to you in a complete and accurate way every week of Georgia’s legislative session. If you rely on these updates to keep you connected to the health happenings under the Gold Dome, please consider supporting our work with a donation today. Thank you very much!

In this week’s update:

Image of the Georgia capitol
  • Georgia House Speaker introduces Mental Health Parity Act
  • Legislation on increasing postpartum coverage, drug prices, COVID-19 vaccines, and more!
  • The General Assembly sets their 2022 calendar
  • Advocacy events for your calendar
  • GHF’s got you covered this session!
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Legislative Update: $$$, this week’s advocacy opportunities, & what’s next

Legislative Update: Week 2

General Assembly meets for joint budget hearings 
Picture of the Georgia capitol

The Georgia General Assembly met last week for joint budget hearings. During “budget week” both the House and Senate heard from Governor Kemp and agency leaders about their requests for the current and upcoming state budgets. The General Assembly’s budgetary considerations consist of two parts:

  1. Changes to the current FY 2022 state budget (sometimes called the “little budget”) which will run through June 30, 2022, and
  2. The FY 2023 general state budget (the “big budget”), which will begin on July 1, 2022.

After the agency presentations, the House will pull together the budget requests into legislation and continue to review funding requests.

Below we highlight some of the primary asks made by the state agencies that most impact our health, especially during the current health crisis. For more detailed budget analysis, please see the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute’s Overview of Georgia’s 2023 Fiscal Year Budget.

The General Assembly will reconvene on January 25th for the fifth day of legislative session.

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Health Care Unscrambled 2022: Recapped!

Thank you to all attendees for being a part of Georgians for a Healthy Future’s 12th annual Health Care Unscrambled! 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! 

Highlights from a bi-partisan legislative panel

While we were hoping to convene in a hybrid in-person & virtual fashion, the pivot to a fully virtual platform did not damper the impact of this year’s Health Care Unscrambled program. Our accomplished and bi-partisan panel of state legislators answered tough questions about the state of health in Georgia and discussed the issues they see as most pressing in 2022. 

Head shots of three legislators in a horizontal row. From left to right: Sen. Dean Burke, Rep. Lee Hawkins, and Sen. Sonya Halpern

Sen. Dean Burke hinted that an extension of Medicaid coverage to pregnant women for up to 12 months after birth or miscarriage was a top priority for him–a preview of the Governor’s similar announcement at the State of the State address later in the week. Sen. Sonya Halpern highlighted the imperative for Georgia leaders to address mental health and substance use in a holistic way across the lifespan, including our education and juvenile justice systems for youth well-being. She also highlighted the need to understand drivers of racial and geographic health disparities and address the root causes to meaningfully close those gaps. Rep. Lee Hawkins discussed health care workforce development initiatives like higher pay rates, expanded training opportunities in rural areas, and loan forgiveness programs. Other topics discussed included telemedicine; tobacco and vaping prevention and taxes; community health workers and other local solutions; Medicaid expansion; public health systems & infrastructure; and more.

A keynote address about Georgia’s public health system

Dr. Georges Benjamin, a Black man with white hair & a mustache who is smiling while wearing a black suit, grey shirt, and red tie.

The legislative panel set the stage for our keynote speaker, Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association (APHA). We learned from Dr. Benjamin what makes up a resilient and effective public health system, how we can ensure that Georgia has one now and in the future, and how public health can help us address some of the state’s toughest health challenges. Dr. Benjamin also highlighted the 10 essential public health services, discussed how to protect public health from being politicized, and called out voting and civic engagement as a fundamental social determinant of health. Dr. Benjamin’s slides are available here for your reference.

Missed Health Care Unscrambled 2022?

Don’t stress! Materials from the event are available on our digital program.

Click here to view the recording of event. Here are some helpful time stamps: 

  • 3:00—Amy Bielawski shares her health care story
  • 10:50: Legislative panel
  • 1:14:42: Executive Director’s remarks
  • 1:29:01: Keynote address from Dr. Georges Benjamin

Visit GHF’s Facebook page to view photos from the virutal event! Check out the #HCU2022 discussion on Twitter.

Thank you again for attending! 


Legislative Update: Early budget preview and opportunities for advocacy

Legislative Update: Week 1

The 2022 legislative session has begun
Picture of the Georgia capitol

The Georgia General Assembly convened (for less than 1 hour) last Monday, Jan. 10th to officially kick off the 40-day legislative session. 

GHF held Health Care Unscrambled on Tuesday as Georgians celebrated UGA’s national football championship win. Thank you to those who attended Health Care Unscrambled! We will be in touch with a recap and a recording of the event very soon! 

The General Assembly reconvened Wednesday through Friday, completing the first four days of the session. The primary focus of the first week of the 2022 legislative session was Governor Kemp’s State of the State address. 

This week will be dedicated primarily to budget hearings for the current (FY 2022 Amended) and next year’s (FY 2023 General) state budgets. The General Assembly will reconvene Monday, January 24th for the fifth official day of legislative session. 

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