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Month: March 2023

What is the Medicaid unwinding, and what do Georgians need to know?

Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids provide health insurance coverage to 2.4 million Georgians, most of whom are children. Though Medicaid and PeachCare typically involve a complex annual renewal process, members were relieved of it throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead Georgia’s Medicaid agency (the Department of Community Health, DCH) has been required to keep Medicaid and PeachCare members continuously enrolled in exchange for additional federal funding.

Since March 2020, more than 610,000 Georgians1 have newly enrolled in Medicaid/PeachCare and have benefited from the continuous coverage protections. However, today (April 1st, 2023) Georgia begins a renewal process to see which members are still eligible and to disenroll those children and adults who no longer qualify.

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GHF legislative update: Housing action alert + Sine Die this Wednesday!

Legislative update: Week 11

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:

  • Action alert: Ask Senators to vote “YES” for HB 404 in support of safe, healthy housing!
  • Mental health bill’s future is uncertain
  • FY24 budget updates 
  • Legislation on the move: vaping, state-based marketplace
  • GHF’s got you covered this session!

ACTION ALERT: URGE YOUR SENATORS TO VOTE “YES” ON HB 404

Senate to vote on healthy housing bill!

Last week, the Senate Finance committee heard and approved HB 404. (GHF testified in support!) The Senate Rules committee followed suit and scheduled HB 404 for a Senate vote today or Wednesday. Please contact your Senator now and ask that they vote “Yes!”. 

HB 404, the Safe at Home Act, would help families stay safely and more stably housed. Decent, safe and stable housing is fundamental to keeping children and adults healthy, able to make ends meet, continue working, allow children to succeed at school, and so much more.

In it’s current form, HB 404: 

  • Requires that rental properties are “fit for human habitation”
  • Includes cooling as a utility that cannot be shut off prior to an eviction action
  • Prohibits landlords from requiring a security deposit that is more than two months’ rent.
  • Allows a tenant three business days (following a written notice) to pay owed monies prior to an eviction proceeding being filed. (This is called a “right to cure”)

Click here to find your state Senator. (Tip: they will be the second-to-last official listed on the page.) Call to ask them to support HB 404 when it comes up for a vote! 

If you don’t know what to say when you call, use this example: “My name is ________. I live and vote in your district. Please vote YES on House Bill 404 when it comes to the Senate for a vote. This bill would provide fair housing protections to families, including by making sure all rental units are safe and healthy. This is especially important to help keep Georgia kids in school, out of foster care, and healthy in their communities. Thank you!”

(Want to know more about how housing & health are connected? Take a look at GHF’s Healthy Housing page.)  

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GHF legislative update: March 20 – Three Action Alerts!

Legislative update: Week 10

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:

  • Action alert: Urge Senators to vote NO on SB 140!
  • Action alert: Ask Senate committee to support safe, healthy housing (HB 404)!
  • Action alert: Continue to urge Senators to support strong mental health reforms (HB 520)!
  • Legislation on the move: vaping, biomarker testing, & more!
  • GHF’s got you covered this session!

ACTION ALERT: URGE YOUR SENATORS TO VOTE NO TO SB 140!

Let’s keep doctors and families in charge of their own evidence-based health care!

SB 140 would ban certain surgical procedures and hormone replacement therapies for the treatment of gender dysphoria in youth in Georgia. The Senate may take a final vote on SB 140 as early as today! Act now and urge your Senator to vote “no”!

Last Tuesday, the House Public Health committee amended SB 140 to criminalize medical providers for administering gender-affirming care in line with established standards of care. The House approved the amended version of SB 140 on Thursday. Because the House made changes to the Senate bill, the Senate must vote on the bill one more time.

Research shows that gender-affirming care greatly improves the mental health and overall well-being of gender-diverse, transgender, and nonbinary children and adolescents. Every major U.S. medical and mental health organization–including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Federation of Pediatric Organizations, and American Psychological Association–supports access to gender-affirming care for transgender young people and adults. 

This bill would be harmful to transgender youth, their families, and health care providers. Urge your state senator NOW to vote NO on SB 140!

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GHF legislative update: March 13

Legislative update: Week 9

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:

  • Action alert: Urge Senators to support HB 520!
  • Amended FY23 and FY24 budget updates 
  • Biomarker bill gets Senate committee approval
  • TANF for pregnant women 
  • Advocacy events for your calendar
  • GHF’s got you covered this session!

ACTION ALERT: URGE YOUR SENATORS TO SUPPORT HB 520!

New mental health bill will be heard in Senate committee today

A subcommittee of the Senate Health & Human Service committee will hear HB 520 this afternoon at 2 pm. Please call HHS committee members now to ask that they support the bill! 

HB 520 seeks to build on last year’s sweeping Georgia Mental Health Parity Act. HB 520 aims to address the statewide shortage of mental health providers, understand the capacity for in-patient mental health and substance use treatment, streamline the ways that state agencies involved in behavioral health can share data, and address the needs of so-called “familiar faces” (people that cycle between homelessness, jails, and hospitals due to serious mental illness). 

Similar to last year’s mental health bill, this bill has been the subject of misinformation and stigma. It is very important that state Senators hear from you with your support!

If you don’t know what to say when you call, use this example: “My name is ________ and I live in your district. Please vote YES on House Bill 520 when it comes to the Senate Health and Human Services committee for a vote this afternoon. It will help Georgians who need mental health and substance use services more easily access and afford those services. Thank you!”

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GHF legislative update: Crossover Day Recap

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: CROSSOVER DAY RECAP

In today’s update:

Monday was the 28th day of the Georgia legislative session, which is also called Crossover Day. Crossover Day is the final day for a bill to cross from its chamber of origin to the opposite chamber to remain viable for this legislative session.

In this special midweek legislative update, we run down which consumer health bills made it through and which did not. We have included only the bills that we covered in Monday’s week 8 legislative update.

Note: After the flurry of activity on Monday, we are still working to update our legislative tracker with the current status of each bill. While many are updated, it is best to find the bill you are interested in and click through to find the full information about the bill’s status on legis.ga.gov. 


CROSSOVER DAY ACTION

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GHF legislative update: March 6

Legislative update: Week 8

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:

  • New mental health bill passes house!
  • Modernizing the TANF program
  • Better housing for Georgians!
  • Crossover Day: legislation we are watching ahead of today’s deadline! 
  • Advocacy events for your calendar
  • GHF’s got you covered this session!

NEW MENTAL HEALTH BILL PASSES HOUSE!

Mental health bill moving onto the Senate! 

HB 520, this year’s mental health reform bill, received the approval of the Georgia House and will be considered by the Senate after Crossover Day.  

This bill was introduced by Representatives Mary Margaret Oliver and Todd Jones and seeks to build on last year’s sweeping Georgia Mental Health Parity Act. HB 520 aims to address the statewide shortage of mental health providers, understand the capacity for in-patient mental health and substance use treatment, streamline the ways that state agencies involved in behavioral health can share data, and address the needs of so-called “familiar faces” (people that cycle between homelessness, jails, and hospitals due to serious mental illness). The bill also expands the Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission (BHRIC) to include two “peer support specialists.”

HB 520 also directs DBHDD and DCH to develop an 1115 waiver to use Medicaid funds to provide housing, employment, and nutrition supports, as well as case management, outreach, and education to Medicaid members. This type of waiver is intended to address the non-medical needs of Medicaid members that impact their health and reduce health disparities. These kinds of needs are sometimes called the social determinants of health (SDOH).

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GHF In The News

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