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Author: Laura Colbert

New federal fix expands the number of Georgia families who qualify for affordable health coverage

Thanks to a move by the Biden administration, 206,000 more Georgia families will qualify for financial help to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare). The “family glitch” has plagued working families whose jobs offer affordable coverage for the worker but not for their family members. With the new federal fix, the family glitch will no longer stand between Georgia’s working families and the affordable health coverage and care they deserve.

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Strategic goal #3: Building a resilient & equitable organization

In July, GHF’s Board of Directors and staff launched our new 2022-2026 strategic plan–an ambitious blueprint for our next four years as an organization. Guided by this living document, GHF will deepen our focus on health equity; champion community-led change; build a healthy, resilient organization; and lead advocacy to strengthen Georgia’s public health systems and workforce.

In a series of four blogs, GHF’s Executive Director Laura Colbert spotlights each of our new strategic goals. If you missed her first two blogs, you can read about our goals related to health equity here and community-led change here. 

Strategic Goal #3: The people and programs that make up GHF have the financial resources and supporting policies/practices to be sustainable and resilient in the face of change. 

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Strategic goal #2: GHF as a champion of community-led change

In July, GHF’s Board of Directors and staff launched our new 2022-2026 strategic plan–an ambitious blueprint for our next four years as an organization. Guided by this living document, GHF will deepen our focus on health equity; champion community-led change; build a healthy, resilient organization; and lead advocacy to strengthen Georgia’s public health systems and workforce.

In a series of four blogs, GHF’s Executive Director Laura Colbert spotlights each of our new strategic goals. If you missed her first blog on GHF’s health equity goals, you can catch up here.

Strategic Goal #2: GHF meaningfully and consistently engages with communities and individuals in ways that amplify their voices and experiences to achieve policy change. 

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Strategic Goal #1: GHF as a health equity champion

Last month, GHF’s Board of Directors and staff launched our new 2022-2026 strategic plan–an ambitious blue print for our next four years as an organization. Guided by this living document, GHF will deepen our focus on health equity; champion community-led change; build a healthy, resilient organization; and lead advocacy to strengthen Georgia’s public health systems and workforce.

In a series of four blogs, GHF’s Executive Director Laura Colbert spotlights each of our new strategic goals. First up: health equity!

Strategic Goal #1: GHF is recognized as a leading statewide organization working to advance health equity.

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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! 


The ACA remains the law of the land!

Georgia consumers relieved of threat to health coverage by U.S. Supreme Court’s third affirmation that Affordable Care Act is lawful

With the ACA firmly in place as the law of the land, federal and state law makers should turn their attention to improving affordability and closing remaining coverage gaps

Statement by Whitney Griggs, Health Policy Analyst at Georgians for a Healthy Future regarding today’s ruling on the California v. Texas lawsuit by the Supreme Court of the United States. The lawsuit sought to invalidate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Georgia was a plaintiff in the case.

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A consumer health advocates guide to the 2020 elections: U.S. Senate

Three images of people advocating for health care at the Capitol

During the run-off election period (Dec. 14, 2020 to Jan. 5, 2021) for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats, Georgians have the opportunity to learn more about these elected positions, their decision-making power, and how Georgia’s U.S. Senators impact our health and well-being . Voters’ decisions about our Senate candidates will have a tangible and long-running impact on our state’s recovery from COVID-19, health costs and insurance, and other important consumer health issues in Georgia.

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Statement from GHF’s Executive Director on approval of Georgia Access waiver

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the approval of Georgia’s 1332 State Innovation waiver, title “Georgia Access”. Laura Colbert, Executive Director of Georgians for a Healthy Future has issued the following statement:

“Despite repeated attempts, Governor Kemp’s Georgia Access proposal still fails to explain how a shutdown of the most popular and streamlined health insurance enrollment platform in order to move to a decentralized, privatized enrollment system will address the challenges faced by Georgia consumers, especially those who remain uninsured.

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Statement from GHF’s Executive Director on the approval of Georgia’s 1115 Medicaid waiver & pending approval of 1332 private insurance waiver

Today Governor Kemp and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the approval of Georgia’s 1115 Medicaid waiver & pending approval of 1332 private insurance waiver. Laura Colbert, Executive Director of Georgians for a Healthy Future has issued the following statement:

“In the midst of a once-in-a-century health crisis, Georgians need & deserve bold action from their leaders. Unfortunately, the Governor’s health proposals miss that mark. The plans approved today are insufficient and ill-advised. Georgians deserve better.

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Five Years in the Making: Consumer Advocates’ Role in Passing Comprehensive Surprise Billing Legislation

Quote from consumer about surprise billing and summary of blog

Today, Governor Kemp signed the Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Act into law! Georgians for a Healthy Future and our partners at Georgia Watch strongly supported this bipartisan bill to protect consumers from surprise out-of-network medical bills.

These exorbitant bills often burden patients with high amounts of medical debt. In fact, over half of debt collection actions contain medical debts, leading to bankruptcy for many consumers. Take George C. of Lilburn, for instance, who had his right foot amputated at an in-network hospital. Even after obtaining assurances from his insurer that the provider was in network, he still found himself stuck with costly medical bills. “I found out they used out-of-network providers when they assured me they would [not]. They would not dismiss the bills and I had no alternative but to file for bankruptcy,” said George, after receiving surprise medical bills totaling $60,000.

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GHF In The News

Jan 25, 2023
Georgia to reinstate eligibility verifications for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids members
Jamarlo Phillips and Rachel Aragon

“They haven’t done any checks since March of 2020 so everyone has been able to keep their coverage for that entire period without having to renew,” said Laura Colbert, Executive…

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