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Author: Alex McDoniel

The Importance of Health Care for the LGBTQIA+ Community

Treylin Cooley, GHF Health Insurance Navigator 


During this PRIDE month, GHF is highlighting the importance of ALL people receiving proper health care and specifically highlighting the importance of the LGBTQIA+ community receiving adequate and unbiased care. Equitable access to health care for all is a right, not a privilege, and this right must be protected and enforced. Marketplace insurance was created to address those specific needs of Americans.

Historically, the LGBTQIA+ community has faced many barriers with access to health care being one of them. Why has this been a challenge, you may ask. To begin, many health care providers and lawmakers are unaware of the unique medical needs of the LGBTQIA+ community. This has been one of the biggest reasons that proper health care has not been taken more seriously and then causes someone to shy away from seeking care.  However, as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I was fortunate enough to locate a provider who has done the work, created safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community, and offered individualized care. That was a breath of fresh air for me and I was once again excited about my health care. I was able to speak with providers who understood the social determinants of  health, and I was able to talk to my provider about my specific needs in a comfortable space.

Our community has unique health care needs; from needing specialized care for individuals living the trans experience to those needing to be prescribed the correct antiretroviral medications in order to continue to thrive with HIV. In addition, the myths and stereotypes that have been associated with the community have been major factors in molding the thoughts and opinions of both health care providers and lawmakers. This limited the innovative approaches that health care providers and lawmakers could implement to address those unique health care needs. However, marketplace insurance has been paramount in changing how many services are rendered. It has prevented individuals from being denied health insurance for having pre-existing conditions, prevented policies from getting canceled based on an individual’s age and limited the maximum amount of out-of-pocket costs an individual can be charged, as well as other protections. Marketplace insurance made me hopeful again that I could receive adequate and affordable health care.

As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I take my health care very seriously. As a result, during the time I was uninsured, I chose to enroll in Marketplace insurance. This was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I was, indeed, skeptical at first. However, the navigator who assisted me was very knowledgeable, patient, and walked me through the entire process.  Even when I was enrolling, one of my biggest fears was being able to afford the insurance. My health insurance navigator quickly helped calm those fears. I qualified for the premium tax credits, and I was able to get an affordable monthly premium. In addition, I was able to enroll in a program that assisted with the cost of the premium payment as well.

During this PRIDE month, let us be intentional about championing for equitable health care. Everyone deserves to thrive.  I take PRIDE in my health, and Marketplace insurance is the reason. Sign up today so that you, too, can Protect Your Peach.


Income Influences Health: It’s Time for a State Earned Income Tax Credit in Georgia

On March 9, 2022, Georgians for a Healthy Future (GHF) joined the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute for the Georgia Work Credit virtual rally*. The event helped Georgians learn more about the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and why Georgia needs one. GHF enthusiastically participated because a state EITC can provide real health benefits for Georgia families!

The EITC is a public health intervention that boosts incomes and health outcomes for working people earning low wages. Income has a big influence on health, especially for people with low incomes. People with low or moderate incomes have less access to health services than people with higher incomes. They also struggle to afford other resources that improve health, like stable housing or healthy foods.

Policies like the EITC can lessen the impact of poverty on the health of Georgians and reduce racial health gaps.

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Legislative Update: Sine Die


Legislative update: Sine Die

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!

Sine Die

The 2022 Georgia legislative session is over, but we are not finished! 

Monday was Sine Die at the Georgia General Assembly – the last day of the 2022 legislative session. This year’s session saw the passage of several bills that will impact Georgians’ access to health care and the overall health of the state. These bills included the Childhood Lead Exposure Control Act; easing of prior authorization requirements for people with chronic medications; increasing postpartum Medicaid coverage; the addition of mental health and substance use emergencies to Georgia’s surprise billing protections; and much more.

These bills now move to the Governor’s desk for his consideration and signature. The Governor has 40 days to sign or veto bills. We will continue to monitor these bills through the mid-May deadline. For the bills that become law, state agencies like the Department of Insurance will then figure out how to put them into practice.

Check out our summary of the more notable health bills of the 2022 session below and a full list of health care-related legislation at GHF’s legislative tracker.

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Legislative Update: Action alerts, legislation on the move, advocacy events coming up, and more!



Legislative update: Week 12 – Part 2

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
  • Action Alerts! 
  • On the Governor’s desk!
  • On the move!
  • Other notable developments
  • Advocacy Days this week
  • GHF’s got you covered this session

ACTION ALERT:

CALL SENATE RULES COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABOUT THESE BILLS!

Ask the Senate Rules Committee to send the Quality Basic Education Act to the Senate for a vote!

The Quality Basic Education Act, HB 1283, will be heard in the Senate Rules Committee. This bill would provide recess for students in kindergarten through fifth grade on all school days (except on days when they have other physical education class or other structured physical activities). Children have been proven to perform best academically, behaviorally, and socially when schools adopt physical activity policies such as recess.

Call or email members of the Senate Rules Committee and urge them to vote YES. 

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Legislative Update: Action alert: Call your Senators about HB 1013, final countdown, legislation on the move, advocacy events coming up, and more!


Legislative update: Week 12

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
  • Action Alert: TODAY: Ask the Senate HHS committee to pass the Georgia Mental Health Parity Act! 
  • Final Countdown! 
  • On the Governor’s desk!
  • Waiting in Rules Committee…
  • Coming up this week
  • Senate passes FY23 budget
  • Advocacy Days this week
  • GHF’s got you covered this session

THE SENATE HHS COMMITTEE NEEDS TO HEAR YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE GEORGIA MENTAL HEALTH PARITY ACT!

TODAY: Ask the Senate Health and Human Services Committee to vote YES on the Mental Health Parity Act! 

The Senate Health & Human Services Committee held several hearings on the Georgia Mental Health Parity Act last week. Unfortunately, the hearings were muddied by misinformation about what is in the bill and how it would impact Georgians.

The truth is the Georgia Mental Health Parity Act (GMHPA) would make mental health & substance use (MH/SU) services easier to access and afford in our state. It would put recovery in reach for many more Georgians. Here’s a fact sheet that explains the major parts of the bill.

The GMHPA is expected to receive a vote this afternoon or early this week. You can help ensure it passes with strong support by calling or emailing the committee members and asking them to unanimously pass the bill!

Then ask your state Senator to support the bill!

Now is the time! Please call or email legislators to say why you support this bill and to ask for their strong support too.

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Legislative Update: Action alert: Call your Senators about HB 1355, Crossover Day recap, advocacy events coming up, and more!

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:

Image of the Georgia capitol
  • Action Alert: Call your State Senator to pass HB 1355! 
  • Crossover Day Bill Recap
  • Advocacy Days coming up!
  • GHF’s got you covered this session!

ACTION ALERT: CALL YOUR STATE SENATOR TO PROTECT CHILDREN

Ask the Senate Health and Human Services Committee to vote YES on the Childhood Lead Exposure Control Act!

The Childhood Led Exposure Control Act, HB 1355, will be heard again in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee this Wednesday at 1pm. HB 1355 would help protect children’s health. This bill would:

  • Update Georgia law to align blood level recommendations with CDC guidelines for children
  • Aid the early identification of children with elevated blood lead levels so that remediation can occur to reduce harm and prevent future exposure 
  • Protect children under 6 from lead exposure found in the interior and exteriors of rental housing, schools, and daycare centers
  • Provide for scientifically based standards for the removal of lead hazards

Call or email Senate committee members on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and urge them to vote YES. 

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Legislative Update: House finishes its budget work, plus rural health, primary care, & surprise billing legislation

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:

Image of the Georgia capitol
  • House passes the Mental Health Parity Act! 
  • A check-in on the state budget and Crossover Day is Tuesday!
  • Bills you may not have seen yet
  • Legislation on the move!
  • GHF’s got you covered this session!

MENTAL HEALTH PARITY ACT PASSED THE HOUSE!

The Georgia Mental Health Parity Act passed the House last week! 

The Georgia Mental Health Parity Act (GMHPA) passed the House last Tuesday with an overwhelming & bi-partisan 169-3 vote. The bill has been referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and will receive its first Senate hearing today, March 14th, at 3pm. 

The GMHPA is a big bill so the Senate HHS committee will likely hold several hearings before voting on it. While our Senators hear and debate the bill, you can help. Call or email committee members and ask them to keep “parity” in the Georgia Mental Health Parity Act.

Parity means fair or equal. It’s time for health insurance companies to play fair. The Georgia Mental Health Parity Act would put in place strong, fair rules so Georgians get the mental health & addiction coverage we need (and pay for).

Want to do more?

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Legislative Update: Mental Health Parity Act moves forward, Cover Georgia advocacy day, & lots more!

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:

Image of the Georgia capitol
  • Action Alert: Ask your state representative to support the Mental Health Parity Act! 
  • A check-in on the state budget and Crossover Day coming soon!
  • Bills you may not have seen yet
  • Legislation on the move!
  • Advocacy events for your calendar: AIDSWatch in Georgia, the Georgia work credit & Medicaid expansion!
  • GHF’s got you covered this session!
(more…)

Legislative Update: Legislative Update: Keep calling your Reps for mental health parity, budget updates, more treatment for those with HIV, vaping ban, and more!

Legislative update: Week 7

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
  • Action Alert: You still have time to contact the House HHS committee to support the Mental Health Parity Act! 
  • A check-in on the state budget
  • Legislation about increasing coverage for Georgians with HIV, vaping ban, a bill banning COVID-19 vaccine “passports” passes out of the Senate, and much more! 
  • Advocacy events for your calendar: President Biden’s State of the Union address & the Georgia work credit
  • GHF’s got you covered this session!
(more…)

Legislative Update: Keep calling your Reps for mental health parity, more treatment for those with HIV, state health plans transparency, and more!

Legislative update: Week 6

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
  • Action Alert: Ask (again) the House HHS committee to support the Mental Health Parity Act!
  • Legislation about increasing coverage for Georgians with HIV, greater transparency for state health plans, and a hearing for a bill banning COVID-19 vaccine “passports”! 
  • Advocacy events for your calendar: Housing, substance use, & the Georgia work credit
  • GHF’s got you covered this session!
(more…)

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