A long-awaited health care proposal from House leaders would ease health care business regulations in some cases, but the measure is just as notable for what it does not do:…
Legislative Update: Week 1
The 2021 legislative session has begun
Last week, the Georgia General Assembly convened for the first time in 2021. The first four days of the 2021 legislative session were held with additional COVID-19 safety protocols in place. The attentions of legislators were mostly taken up with committee appointments, (including a change in leadership for the Senate Insurance Committee from Sen. Burt Jones to Sen. Dean Burke), Governor Kemp’s third State of the State address, and other annual traditions, including GHF’s own Health Care Unscrambled.
This week will be primarily dedicated to budget hearings for the current (FY 2021 Amended) and next year’s (FY 2022) state budgets. The General Assembly will reconvene on Tuesday, January 26th for the fifth day of legislative session.(more…)
Ramatu lives in Gwinnett County with her four children for whom Medicaid helps to meet their unique health needs. Medicaid provides a lifeline for Ramatu’s family and helps ensure that her children receive the health care they need. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 54% of Georgia children with special health care needs are covered by Medicaid.
“Two of my kids are on straight Medicaid because of the severity of their disability. The other two, they are on what is called care services.” –Ramatu(more…)
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has damaged the mental health of many Georgians and exacerbated the use of alcohol and drugs. Financial stressors, the difficulties of parenting, and almost universal uncertainty brought about by COVID-19 have dramatically increased depression, anxiety, stress, and substance use among Georgians. Some will seek supports and services to manage their health, which may be provided in part by certified peer specialists.
Certified peer specialists (CPS) provide support and education to individuals and families while they navigate mental health and/or substance use recovery supports and services. CPS have played a vital role in Georgia’s mental health and substance use recovery systems for over 20 years.(more…)
During the 2020 Georgia legislative session, House Health & Human Services Chairwoman Sharon Cooper sponsored HB 1114. The bill allows eligible mothers to receive Medicaid coverage for six months after giving birth, up from the current 60-day limit.
Currently pregnant women and new mothers are covered by Medicaid only up to 60 days after their birth or miscarriage. Georgia has very strict Medicaid eligibility rules for Georgia parents outside of this 60-day period and Georgia has not expanded Medicaid to other low-income adults. For these reasons, many mothers who try to apply for Medicaid after the 60-day period are ineligible and become uninsured.
Georgia’s alarming maternal mortality and morbidity outcomes prompted Georgia leaders to examine the problem and propose solutions. State leaders agreed that extending Medicaid coverage from 60-days postpartum to six months for women with incomes at or below 225% of the federal poverty level (FPL) would be a step in the right direction. This move improves access and consistent care during the more of the postpartum period.
Georgia’s Department of Community Health invited public comment on the proposal from October 8, 2020 to November 9, 2020. During this comment period, individuals and organizations were able to provide their input at two public hearings or in writing.
GHF offered its qualified support of the proposal. GHF urged the state to to go further by extending coverage to twelve months. We also recommended an expansion of Medicaid to all low-income adults. Both of these moves would optimize Medicaid’s benefits and access to care for women throughout the postpartum period and beyond. You can read GHF’s full comment letter here.
Both of Governor Kemp’s health care proposals were approved by federal health officials in the last two weeks. Unfortunately, both proposals fall short of the bold, evidence-based action that Georgians need their state leaders to take. These plans may impact you or people you know. While some details of the plans are still being sorted out, we have tried to answer some of your early questions here. As we learn more and these plans roll out, GHF will keep you updated with the information you need to get covered, stay covered, and help your loved ones do the same.(more…)
Despite repeated claims otherwise, Georgia’s health insurance marketplace has proven to be resilient for consumers in our state. GHF examined the data about Georgia’s 2020 marketplace for our annual Getting Georgia Covered report. We found rising enrollment, lower premiums, and increased choices for consumers. This annual release tells the story of how Georgia individuals and families are faring in the health insurance marketplace. Explore the new interactive digital report to find out more about Georgia’s 2020 marketplace, how it differed from previous years, the Georgians who enrolled and costs of plans, and policy opportunities to increase enrollment, ensure access to care, address affordability, and protect consumers.
Healthcare.gov is open for business from November 1 to December 15, 2020. Georgians can now shop for comprehensive, affordable health plans and enroll in coverage. Nine out of 10 Georgians qualify for financial help to lower their premiums and other costs! Make sure that you are covered in 2021!
Most Georgians who qualify for health insurance & financial help through the Affordable Care Act (also called “Obamacare”) are still uninsured. If you or people you know need more information about how health insurance works, how to enroll in coverage, or what to do after you have signed up, we have you covered! Check out and share these tools so you and your networks can get covered and stay covered:
This year, no Georgian has been left untouched by the health or economic impacts of COVID-19. America’s failure to control the pandemic has spotlighted the importance of public policy decisions that prioritize health and wellness. The consequences of underfunding essential public health infrastructure and Medicaid, and the disparate impact that public policies have no Black Americans and other people of color is clear. National, state, and local leaders, many elected by the public, are responsible for the policy decisions made ahead of and in response to COVID-19, its economic fallout, and the movement for racial justice.
This election season (October 12 to November 3, 2020), Georgians have the opportunity to learn more about these elected positions, the decision-making power each has, and how those positions impact their health and the well-being of Georgians. This year, Georgians will cast their votes for the U.S. President, members of U.S. Congress, state legislators, state supreme court judges, and other positions.
In this blog, we cover the U.S. President’s impact on the health and well-being of Georgians and their families.(more…)
This year, no Georgian has been left untouched by the health or economic impacts of COVID-19. America’s singular failure to control the pandemic has spotlighted the importance of public policy decisions that prioritize health and wellness. The consequences of underfunding essential public health infrastructure and Medicaid, and the disparate impact that public policies have no Black Americans and other people of color is clear. National, state, and local leaders, many elected by the public, are responsible for the policy decisions made ahead of and in response to COVID-19, its economic fallout, and the movement for racial justice.
Ahead of the 2020 election season (October to November 3, 2020), Georgians have the opportunity to learn more about these elected positions, the decision-making power each has, and how those positions impact their health and the well-being of Georgians. This year, Georgians will cast their votes for the U.S. President, members of U.S. Congress, state legislators, state supreme court judges, and other positions.
As Georgia candidates on this fall’s ballot crisscross the state or their districts asking for support, voters will consider their positions on a number of important issues including health care. To help voters make their decisions, we put together this list of questions for voters to ask of candidates about five timely and pressing consumer health care issues. These questions can be used at town halls and candidate forums or posed to candidates via social media or in one-on-one conversations.(more…)
On July 9, 2020, Georgia’s Governor announced that his administration had revised his 1332 private insurance proposal. The new proposal consists of two parts:
- A reinsurance program to lower premiums; and
- The Georgia Access model—which would separate Georgia from healthcare.gov but would not replace it, instead directing consumers to insurers and web brokers to shop and enroll in coverage.
After a 15-day public comment period during which more than 600 comments were received from the public, Georgia’s Department of Community Health made no changes and submitted the proposal to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for their review on July 31.
CMS deemed the waiver application complete on August 17. The designation began a 30-day public comment period, allowing Georgians, health advocates, and any other interested party to weigh in on the revised proposal. Because of technical difficulties with the comment submission link, the comment period was extended another seven days to September 23, 2020.