Contact your House member, Health care waivers, 2019 Health Advocates Guide

Happening now: Cover Georgia Day at the Capitol

Tell your elected officials to take action today!

Cover Georgia Day at the Capitol is happening now! Health advocates are at the state Capitol today speaking with legislators about the need to build a pathway to health insurance coverage for all Georgians. We need you to raise your voice with them!

Advocates will be speaking to their state representatives about SB 106, the Patients First Act, which passed the Senate earlier this week. This legislation, as written, falls short of the promise to put a health insurance card in the pockets of all Georgians because it leaves out thousands who would be covered under a full Medicaid expansion (or a similar 1115 waiver) and will likely cost the state more to cover fewer people. Additionally, the bill allows the Governor to make potentially seismic changes to private health insurance in Georgia through 1332 waivers with little accountability. The good news is that it’s not too late for House members to make a few changes that would allow this legislation to benefit more Georgians at a lower cost to the state.

Your state representatives need to hear from you today! Call or send an email to your elected officials today and encourage them to get the best deal that will ensure all Georgians have coverage!


 

New releases!

New fact sheets put waivers in context

On Tuesday, the Senate passed SB 106, the Patients First Act. The bill allows Georgia’s Governor to pursue two kinds of health care waivers that could make significant changes to health coverage for Georgia consumers: an 1115 Medicaid waiver and 1332 State Innovation waivers. GHF’s partner, Georgia Watch, together with other Cover Georgia coalition partners, has released a fact sheet to help you understand 1115 waivers and how they relate to Georgia’s current debate about Medicaid expansion. Additionally, GHF released a sister fact sheet to help you understand 1332 waivers and how they may impact private health insurance plans in Georgia. Download both today!

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Updated for 2019: A Consumer Health Advocates Guide to the Georgia Legislative Session

GHF’s annual Consumer Health Advocate’s Guide is your map for navigating the Georgia legislative session. This annual booklet provides information about Georgia’s legislative process, legislators, and committees, key agency officials, advocate contacts, and more. Experienced advocates and new volunteers will find their way around Georgia’s Capitol more easily with the information provided in this year’s guide.

(Interested in a hard copy? Contact Michelle Conde.)


Medicaid helps seniors too

Maintaining independence for seniors

Charlie Ellison is 87 years old and a long time resident of Dalton, Georgia. Charlie is one of over half a million seniors and people with disabilities in Georgia who depend on Medicaid and Medicare to live with dignity in their communities. Charlie’s Medicaid coverage allows him to visit RossWoods Adult Day Services each day and reduces the costs of his medications so that he remains as healthy and independent as possible. For 168,000 seniors like Charlie who typically rely on low, fixed incomes, Medicaid makes the difference. Read more of Charlie’s story and see how sharing your story can make an impact!


GHF in the news

Momentum builds to seek waiver to cover more Georgians under Medicaid
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | February 5, 2019


What is Certificate of Need? Explaining a Likely Health Care Fight at the Gold Dome
WABE | February 5, 2019


Kemp to seek Medicaid, Obamacare waivers for Georgia
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | February 8, 2019


What’s in the funding deal for health care
Politico Pulse | February 14, 2019


Lawmakers, Advocates Skeptical of Kemp’s Medicaid Waiver Plan
WABE | February 15, 2019


Senate panel backs waiver bill to insure more Georgians
Gwinnett Daily Post | February 20, 2019


Georgia Senate committee approves Medicaid waiver proposal
Athens Banner-Herald | February 20, 2019


Health care waiver bill passes out of committee. Here’s what it could mean for your family
The Georgia Sun | February 20, 2019


Georgia Senate committee approves Gov. Kemp’s Medicaid waiver proposal
FOX 5 Atlanta | February 20, 2019


Under the Gold Dome, lobbyists are sparring over your health care costs
The Georgia Sun | February 22, 2019


Stalemate or solution? Legislative fight over surprise billing renewed
Georgia Health News | February 22, 2019


Georgia legislative fight over surprise billing renewed
Athens Banner-Herald | February 25, 2019


Surprise hospital bills under review
Statesboro Herald | February 25, 2019

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Peach Pulse | January 2019

 

 

 

GHF kicks off 2019 legislative session with Health Care Unscrambled breakfast

Thanks to you, this year’s Health Care Unscrambled breakfast was a big success! We were thrilled to have a room packed with advocates, policy makers, and others who joined us for this year’s event. This year’s program began with a personal story from consumer Lori Murdock, who shared her experience struggling to manage a chronic disease without health insurance because she was caught in Georgia’s coverage gap. Our knowledgeable legislative panel then provided valuable insights into the health policy issues they plan to tackle during the 2019 legislative session and in the following months. Afterwards, Dr. David Blumenthal, President of the Commonwealth Fund, brought a wealth of knowledge and insight to our conversation about how innovations in health care and coverage can help us achieve better health outcomes for all Georgians.

You can read the highlights of breakfast on our blog, and be sure to check out our Facebook album to see photos of the event!

Don’t forget! GHF has you covered for the 2019 legislative session. You will receive weekly updates about the health debates at the State capitol, can track health-related legislation on our website, and more.


Save the date
Cover Georgia Day at the Capitol!

Please join us at the state capitol on Thursday, February 28th from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm for Cover Georgia Day! We will be asking state legislators to put insurance cards in the pockets of low-income Georgians who cannot get affordable health care coverage under current law. This is your opportunity to speak to your elected officials and let them know that you support closing Georgia’s coverage gap.

Be on the lookout for further details. An RSVP link will be available soon.

 


In case you missed it

GHF releases 2019 policy priorities

Georgians for a Healthy Future released its 2019 policy priorities at this year’s annual Health Care Unscrambled legislative breakfast. These annual priorities outline the issues that GHF believes are most pressing for Georgia consumers and are best addressed by the state legislature. GHF will work to move all of these issues forward by engaging state policy makers, consumers, and coalition partners throughout the legislative session and the remainder of the year.

  • Increase the number of Georgians with health insurance.
  • Stabilize Georgia’s health insurance Marketplace
  • Ensure access to care and financial protections for consumers purchasing private health insurance.
  • Set and enforce standards that provide for equitable coverage of mental health and substance use treatment services by health plans.
  • Prevent nicotine use and addiction by young Georgians
  • Support partners in integrating health and equity in the policies across every sector to address social determinants of health that prevent equitable access to care and equitable health status.

Get to know Georgia’s Project Aware

Georgia’s state leadership has made serious efforts to improve Georgia’s system of care through the infusion of additional dollars for children’s mental health services in the state budget and through innovative programs like Project Advancing Wellness and Resilience Education (AWARE). Georgia Project AWARE is a youth mental health initiative focused on improving the experiences of school-aged youth in Georgia. You can begin to learn about Georgia’s Project Aware on our blog and be on the lookout for Getting to know Project AWARE: Part II, where we’ll learn more about Youth Mental Health First Aid and how it helps educators meet the social and emotional needs of their students.


GHF in the news

Health care could have ‘big year’ in Georgia’s legislature
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | January 11, 2019


Health care agenda: Will longtime disputes be resolved in the legislature?
Gwinnett Daily Post | January 11, 2019


Health issues face state Legislators CON law, surprise billing, medical marijuana will draw lawmakers’ attention
Albany Herald | January 12, 2019


NAIC Names 2019 Consumer Liaison Representatives
National Association of Insurance Commissioners | January 15, 2019


Georgians for a Healthy Future encourages stakeholders to become Medicaid advocates 
Making a Difference magazine | January 17, 2019


‘Waiver’ on the way? Kemp signals a plan to increase coverage 
Georgia Health News | January 17, 2019


Democrat Trammell says fiscal analysis proves case for Medicaid expansion
Gwinnett Daily Post | January 23, 2019

 

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November Peach Pulse: Open enrollment ends soon, “New Release November”, #10for10

 

Open enrollment ends soon
Enroll in health insurance before December 15th!

If you or someone you know needs health insurance in 2019, now is your chance to enroll! If you are not covered by Medicaid or job-based insurance, you can shop for coverage and find out if you qualify for financial help. You have until December 15, 2018 to sign up in one of these three ways:

  • Online through healthcare.gov,
  • Over the phone by calling 1-800-318-2596, or
  • In person by visiting localhelp.healthcare.gov to find a list of enrollment assisters, insurance agents, and brokers in your area.

Mark your calendar to make sure that you are covered in 2019!

Already covered?

Help us spread the word about open enrollment on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn. Make sure your family and friends know that now is the time to enroll in health insurance, they may qualify for financial help, and enrollment help is available.


Health Care Unscrambled 2019

Keynote speaker announced!

GHF is excited to welcome Dr. David Blumenthal, President of the Commonwealth Fund, as the keynote speaker for this year’s Health Care Unscrambled legislative policy breakfast! Dr. Blumenthal will bring a wealth of knowledge and insight to our conversation about how innovations in health care and coverage can help us achieve better health outcomes for all Georgians.

We invite you to join Georgians for a Healthy Future for our ninth annual Health Care Unscrambled on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at the Georgia Freight Depot. This annual event brings together legislators, advocates, and national thought leaders to discuss the health care issues facing Georgians and solutions to address them. RSVP today so you can be part of this exciting event!

Sponsorship opportunities are available.


New release November

GHF has two new Medicaid resources!

GHF’s new story book and fact sheet bring attention to the difference Medicaid makes in the lives of Georgians every day and the potential it has to serve those who are currently uninsured. The Medicaid Matters to Georgia storybook shares the real health care stories of Georgia children and families. Our new Medicaid Matters for Georgia fact sheet outlines the basics about Medicaid in Georgia. We hope these new resources help policymakers, advocates, and consumers better understand the importance of ensuring all Georgians have access to quality, affordable healthcare. We invite you to read and share both with your friends, colleagues, and partners.


Getting Georgia Covered 2018

With just weeks left in this year’s open enrollment, Georgians for a Healthy Future releases its annual Getting Georgia Covered report. The annual publication tells the story of how Georgia individuals and families are faring in Georgia’s health insurance marketplace. This report examines how last year’s open enrollment period differed from the preceding four, examines enrollment and cost data, assesses the consumer experience, and identifies policy opportunities to increase enrollment, ensure access to care, address affordability, and protect consumers.


In case you missed it

Donors choose GHF on Georgia Gives Day!

Georgia Gives Day was Tuesday, November 27th and many of you generously chose to support GHF with your donations. THANK YOU!

Don’t worry if you missed it! You can still donate to GHF through our #10for10 giving campaign in celebration of our tenth anniversary! Become a monthly donor today!

Yes I will give $10 donation button


GHF in the news

How midterm elections may impact Obamacare, Medicaid coverage in Georgia 
Gainesville Times | November 12, 2018

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October Peach Pulse: Health care voter day, new release, and Health Care Unscrambled

 

 

#HealthCareVoter
Got plans this Saturday?

We invite you to join Georgians for a Healthy Future and the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute on Saturday, October 27th at 11:30am at New Life Church in Decatur for Georgia Health Care Voter Day! Learn how Georgia can build healthier communities and a thriving future, and show state leaders that you’re a #HealthCareVoter! After the event, attendees living in DeKalb County can go together to vote early! The nearest early voting location is across the street at The Gallery at South DeKalb Mall. Register below!


Before you go to the polls!

Georgians across the state are being asked to decide how they will cast their votes in November. The decisions made by voters like you will directly impact consumer health issues in Georgia like access to health care, affordability of health insurance, the opioid crisis, and health disparities. Our Consumer Health Advocates Guide to the 2018elections blog series helps you understand the role that elected officials play in your health care and coverage. Read the series before you head to the polls:

*Georgians for a Healthy Future is a non-partisan, 501(c)3 organization. We do not endorse or support any candidates or political party.


Health Care Unscrambled 2019
RSVP today!

Please join Georgians for a Healthy Future for our ninth annual Health Care Unscrambled legislative policy breakfast on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at the Georgia Freight Depot. Each January, we bring together legislators, advocates, and national thought leaders to discuss the health care issues facing Georgians and solutions to address those issues. RSVP today so you can be part of this exciting event!

Sponsorship opportunities are available.


Coverage makes the difference for Georgians
New release: Medicaid Matters for Georgia

GHF has a new resource available to help Georgians get the facts on Medicaid. This fact sheet provides information about who is eligible for Medicaid in Georgia, what health services and supports are covered, and why Medicaid is a good investment for Georgia. Read and share the Medicaid Matters for Georgia fact sheet today.

Download Medicaid Matters for Georgia fact sheet

 


Stories from Georgia’s coverage gap: rural Georgians left behind

After suffering from a sudden stroke, Priscilla lost her job and her health insurance coverage, leaving her on the hook for all of the hospital costs that accumulated as she recovered. She remains unable to work or live alone but was fortunate enough to find a physician where she still receives the limited follow-up care she can afford. For rural Georgia residents like Priscilla, health coverage would open doors to the physicians and services that they need to stay employed or get back to work. Read more of Priscilla’s story and see how sharing your story can make an impact!

 

 


In case you missed it
#GHFcelebrates10

Georgians for a Healthy Future is celebrating ten years as the voice for Georgia health care consumers! We’re revisiting some of ourbiggest accomplishments from the past decade and we need your help to continue the celebration. Join us in celebrating our past successes and join our #10for10 giving campaign to help us accomplish a whole lot more in the next ten years!

Yes I will give $10 donation button

 


GHF in the news
How Medicaid has candidates divided on health care
Gainesville Times | October 17, 2018

How crowdfunding is a digital age answer for medical costs
Gainesville Times | October 4, 2018


Medicaid expansion would benefit rural Georgia
Albany Herald | September 27, 2018


Medicaid expansion would benefit rural areas the most, report says
Georgia Health News | September 26, 2018


Georgia’s rural communities would benefit most from Medicaid expansion, report says
The Telegraph | September 26, 2018


Closer Look: Advocates for Medicaid expansion in Ga.; Old Farmer’s Almanac Predictions; and more
WABE | September 10, 2018


Medicaid expansion question fuels Georgia governor’s race
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution | September 10, 2018

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August Peach Pulse: Questions for health care voters, children’s health, and #GHFcelebrates10

 

Before you go to the polls
What health care voters need to know

Georgians across the state are being asked to decide how they will cast their votes in November. The decisions made by voters like you will directly impact critical consumer health issues in Georgia like access to health care, affordability of health insurance, the opioid crisis, and health disparities.

To help you make decisions about the candidates on your ballot, we put together a list of eight questions to ask of candidates seeking your support.


 One week to get your tickets!
Join the celebration!

There’s just one week left to get your tickets to GHF’s fourth annual Consumer Health Impact Awards! Don’t miss your chance to celebrate the achievements of four amazing awardees who have made great contributions to building a healthier future for all Georgians. This event will also commemorate GHF’s ten-year anniversary as the voice for Georgia health care consumers! RSVP today to join the celebration!


GHF selected for Child Health Leadership Network
GHF’s Executive Director will participate in team from Georgia

GHF’s Executive Director, Laura Colbert, was one of four leaders from Georgia selected to participate in the Child Health Leadership Network. This leadership development program helps state-based teams of child health advocates improve the well-being of children and families in their state through policy change and effective leadership. The Child Health Leadership Network is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Read more about the Child Health Leadership Network and the Georgia team here.


In case you missed it
What you should know about GCAL

GCAL provides 24/7 online and telephone support for Georgians who are seeking services for or in crisis as a result of developmental disabilities, mental health, or substance use conditions. You can call 800-715-4225 or visit mygcal.com if you or someone they care for is facing a behavioral health crisis or in need of services. Get to know more about GCAL in GHF’s newest post from our Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies blog series.


GHF goes to Athens!

Georgians for a Healthy Future hosted a Georgia Voices for Medicaid training this month in partnership with Athens for Everyone. The Georgia Voices for Medicaid trainings are designed to give participants the knowledge and skills they need to advocate for timely, important health care issues impacting Georgians. If you were unable to attend, catch up on with our latest blog post. You can also join us for our next training event in Albany or contact Alyssa Green at agreen@healthyfuturega.org or 404-567-5016, ext. 2 to schedule a training in your community.


 GHF in the news

Atlanta-based organization to host Medicaid advocacy training in Athens

WUGA July 31, 2018

Ruling allows for purchase of cheaper insurance

Albany Herald August 3, 2018

Unusual but welcome: 2 health insurers opt to cut Ga. exchange rates

WABE August 24, 2018

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July Peach Pulse: New releases, celebrating 10, and more Medicaid

New release!
My Health Resource Guide

GHF has a new resource available to help consumers navigate the often confusing health care, health insurance, and social services systems. Included in the guide are sections about health insurance, finding a health care provider, and accessing mental health and substance use treatment services. The guide also points consumers to social services that fulfill other basic needs like transportation to and from health appointments, housing and food assistance, and legal support. A printable pdf version of the My Health Resource Guide is available below.


Celebrating 10!
Join us for GHF’s 10th anniversary celebration!

On September 6th, GHF will be kicking off our 10th anniversary celebration at the Consumer Health Impact Awards. In keeping with this very special occasion, we will be recognizing the work of four exceptional awardees who have made strides for countless Georgia consumers. We invite you to join us for this inspiring and festive evening! Don’t miss it!

Sponsorship opportunities are available


GHF welcomes new board member
Dr. Jean O’Connor joins GHF’s board of directors

Dr. Jean O’Connor is a consultant for the Task Force for Global Health on chronic and other non-communicable diseases, and previously served as the chronic disease prevention director and chief policy officer for the Georgia Department of Public Health. She brings to GHF an expertise in population health improvement, a passion for improving the systems and policies that influence health outcomes, and a deep resume of health policy accomplishments. Please join us in welcoming Dr. O’Connor to the GHF board of directors!


On GHF’s blog
Coverage saves lives

Queenesther recently underwent surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy that was causing severe health issues and could have proved fatal. Thanks to her Medicaid coverage she received timely, quality care and has been able to focus on caring for her young family. Queenesther is fortunate compared to many low-income parents because the state legislature has so far refused to extend health coverage to most low-income parents. Read more of Queenesther’s story and see how sharing your story can make an impact!

 


GHF hosts new health advocacy training in Atlanta

Georgians for a Healthy Future hosted a Georgia Voices for Medicaid training this month in partnership with the Central Outreach & Advocacy Center.  The Georgia Voices for Medicaid trainings are designed to give participants the knowledge and skills they need to advocate for timely, important health care issues impacting Georgians. If you were unable to attend, catch up on with our latest blog post. You can also join us for our next training event in Athens or contact Alyssa Green at agreen@healthyfuturega.org or 404-567-5016, ext. 2 to schedule a training in your community.


GHF in the news

Federal funding for ACA ‘navigators’ to drop dramatically in Georgia 
Georgia Health News | July 12, 2018

 

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June Peach Pulse: Medicaid, advocacy trainings, and the Georgia Apex Program

Strengthening Medicaid for all Georgians
Georgians can’t afford to wait

Teresa is one of the 240,000 Georgians who fall in the coverage gap. Because she has been uninsured since 2009, Teresa has to find alternative treatments for a serious dental condition that she developed five years ago. Earlier this month, Virginia voted to extend health insurance coverage to people like Teresa. Georgia’s Governor and state legislature can follow suit and close our state’s coverage gap at any time. Read more about Teresa’s story and five other great reasons that Georgia should follow Virginia’s example on our blog.

 


 

Become a voice for Medicaid in Georgia

Georgians for a Healthy Future is partnering with community groups across the state to host a series of Georgia Voices for Medicaid trainings. You can attend if you are interested in learning more about Georgia’s Medicaid program, who it covers, how it benefits the state, and how you can be a strong health care advocate. Join us for one of these upcoming trainings:

  • Thursday, July 19th, 2:00 – 3:30 pm in downtown Atlanta
  • Friday, August 10, 9:30 am – 11:00 am at the Athens Clarke County Library in Athens, GA

Don’t see a training near you? Email Alyssa Green at agreen@healthyfuturega.org to schedule a training in your community.

 


 

Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies
Get to know the Georgia Apex Program

Some of the state’s recent $21.9 million investment in children’s mental health will fund an expansion of the Georgia Apex Program, a school-based mental health program that aims to improve early identification of, access to and coordination of behavioral health services for students who need them. The Apex Program has demonstrated strong, positive results in its initial two years. Get to know the Georgia Apex Program in GHF’s newest post from our Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies blog series.

 


 

#Protectourcare
Federal government continues to attack consumer health care and coverage

Threats to health coverage and consumer protections continue to emerge from the federal government. The Department of Health and Human Services has released a new rule to increase access to association health plans and is expected to release another shortly that expands short-term limited duration plans. Both rules put consumers at risk by increasing access to skimpy insurance plans without robust protections and pushing up premiums for those with pre-existing conditions who need more comprehensive coverage. The federal government’s actions in two court cases also threaten coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and for adults covered by Medicaid. GHF will continue to monitor these developments and will communicate how they may impact you and your family.

 


 

Powerhouse Policymaker Awardees Announced!
Help us celebrate these deserving policymakers!

The Powerhouse Policymaker Awards are given each year to local or state policymakers in Georgia who have exhibited excellence and courage in championing health issues in public policy. This year’s awardees are state Representative Bob Trammell and Georgia Department of Community Health Commissioner Frank Berry!  Read more about our award recipients here and stay tuned for more awardee announcements soon.

We hope you will join us on September 6th to celebrate these champions for health! Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available.

 


 

GHF in the news

Trump administration rule allows cheaper, skimpier health plans 

Atlanta Journal Constitution  |  June 19, 2018

 

 

 

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Peach Pulse: May 2018

Save the date! 

Celebrate our 10-year anniversary at this year’s Consumer Health Impact Awards

Mark your calendar for the fourth annual Consumer Health Impact Awards on Thursday, September 6th at the Venetian Room! We will celebrate GHF’s 10th year of advocating for Georgia’s health care consumers and spotlight the great work of health advocates and policymakers making a difference. Announcements about this year’s awardees will be made next month. Please plan to join us in September!

Sponsorship opportunities are available.


Strategic Plan 2018-2020

GHF adopts new strategic plan ahead of 10-year anniversary

Georgians for a Healthy Future celebrates its ten-year anniversary this year! Prompted in part by this milestone, our leadership launched a new strategic planning effort to chart a path forward for the next phase of GHF’s work. We are excited to share the results with you! We hope that you will find inspiration in our new strategic plan and we invite you to take and active role in helping us achieve the success we have envisioned. To read more about our 2018-2020 strategic plan, check out or newest blog post or download the plan today. 


 

Medicaid Matters for Moms
Two moms, two Medicaid stories

Thanks to Medicaid, Valerie can take care of the health care needs of her three children. Without Medicaid and left in Georgia’s coverage gap, Susie struggles to manage a cancer diagnosis and other health conditions, while caring for her granddaughter full time.

Mother’s Day might be over but Medicaid remains an important asset for some Georgia moms and their kids, while others remain uninsured because of Georgia’s inaction to extend the program. See the difference Medicaid makes in the lives of the extraordinary moms. Read more about Valerie and Susie’s experience on our blog or share their stories on Facebook or Twitter.


Your story is powerful! Share your health care story with us today!


In Case You Missed It
GHF hosts educational forum about children’s behavioral health

On Tuesday, May 15th, GHF hosted Strong Foundations: Building a System of Care to Address the Behavioral Health Needs of Georgia Children. The forum explored the behavioral health needs of Georgia children and youth, Georgia’s publicly-supported behavioral health landscape, and successes and opportunities in the current system of care. In conjunction with the event, GHF released a new behavioral health fact sheet titled Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, available for download here.

If you missed the event, a recording of the webcast is available here.

To see photos, review materials, and read more about our Strong Foundations event, please visit the event page.


Get Involved

Learn, engage, participate

GHF needs you to make a difference! Join us in shaping the landscape for a healthier Georgia. Your time, donations, and advocacy make the difference in mobilizing consumers for change and crafting policy that works for Georgia consumers. Volunteering with Georgians for a Healthy Future provides an opportunity to raise your voice, connect with like-minded people, and make a difference on the health issues that matter most to you. Inspired to take action? Volunteerdonateadvocate, or contact Michelle Conde at mconde@healthyfuturega.org.

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Peach Pulse: April 2018

The Fight to Prevent Youth Substance Use
Power of prevention: A new opportunity for providers to address youth substance use

As a result of sustained advocacy efforts by GHF and the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, Georgia’s Medicaid agency has made an exciting change that will help prevent and identify substance use disorders among Georgia youth and others with Medicaid coverage. The change allows health care providers to use Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral of Treatment (SBIRT), an evidence-based, public health approach that is used to initiate conversations about substance use behaviors, guide follow-up counseling, and connect people to treatment if needed. Because Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids cover half of all Georgia youth, increasing access to SBIRT may significantly decrease substance use among young Georgians and help stem the tide of the opioid epidemic in the state. Read more about SBIRT and this beneficial policy change on our blog.

Are you a health care provider and want to know how you can use SBIRT in your practice? Check out our new fact sheet.


Upcoming Events
Strong Foundations: Building a System of Care to Address Behavioral Health Needs of Georgia Children

Please join GHF on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 from 8:30am – 12:00pm for a discussion of children’s behavioral health in Georgia. Presenters and panelists will provide a variety of perspectives and expertise to help attendees understand Georgia’s system of care, learn about services and programs available to young Georgians with behavioral health needs, and recognize opportunities to strengthen the system through collaboration. Join us in person or via webcast for this exciting and important event!

 


Why Medicaid Matters
For Travis, Medicaid means employment and giving back to the community

Travis suffered from a series of strokes when he was 11 years old that left him with several physical disabilities. Because he is one of the 250,000 Georgians with disabilities to be covered by Medicaid, Travis is able to work and be an advocate. Medicaid is essential to ensuring that people with disabilities, like Travis, are able to lead fulfilling, independent lives as active participants in their communities. Read more about Travis’s experience on our blog or share his story onFacebook or Twitter.

Your story is powerful! Share your health care story with us today!

 


In Case You Missed It
Webinar: Recap of the Georgia legislative session

The 2018 Georgia legislative session ended on March 29th and with it came changes to health care and coverage in Georgia. GHF partnered with the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute to provide you with a recap of what bills and resolutions passed and which didn’t during the session. In addition to successful legislation, we discussed this year’s relevant study committees, and examined the state budget, including important items for health advocates and consumers. If you missed the webinar, you can catch up by watching the archived recording here.

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Peach Pulse: March 2018

 

 COMMITTEE HOLDS HEARING ON CLOSING THE COVERAGE GAP
Appropriations Health Subcommittee Heard HB 669, Discussed Bi-partisan Desire to Increase Access to Care

Tuesday morning the House Appropriations Health Subcommittee met for a hearing about HB 669, a bill that would close Georgia’s coverage gap by extending health insurance to low-income Georgians as allowed by the Affordable Care Act. Minority Leader Bob Trammell presented the bill to the committee and outlined how the bill would bolster economic activity in rural Georgia, increase access to care for low-income Georgians, and be a smart investment of tax-payer dollars. Committee members asked questions about the bill’s impact on people with mental health conditions and the costs and savings of the bill, and all expressed a desire to find a common solution to Georgia’s high uninsured rate and barriers to health care. No vote was taken on HB 669, so the bill remains in the House Appropriations Health subcommittee.

We are hopeful that this hearing will prompt continued conversation about closing the coverage gap. You can help by thanking the members of the committee and asking them to ensure the conversation moves forward towards a solution. Contact them now!

Rep. Butch Parrish – Chairman
Phone:404.463.2247
Email: butch.parrish@house.ga.gov
Rep. Lee Hawkins – Vice Chair
Phone: 404.656.0213
Email: lee.hawkins@house.ga.gov
Rep. Pat Gardner
Phone: 404.656.0265
Email: pat@patgardner.org
Rep. Carolyn Hugley
Phone: 404.656.5058
Email: carolyn.hugley@house.ga.gov
Rep. Ron Stephens
Phone: 404.656.5115
Email: ron.stephens@house.ga.gov
Rep. Darlene Taylor
Phone: 404.656.7857
Email: darlene.taylor@house.ga.gov

For a more detailed account of the hearing make sure to check our latest blog post by clicking here.

LEGISLATIVES UPDATES: NEAR AND FAR

Georgia legislative session ends next week

 

Georgia’s state legislative session is winding down as Sine Die (the last day of the session) approaches on March 29th. With this deadline approaching, some health care bills have seen significant changes and others have been successfully passed. Check out the most recent developments by reading our latest legislative update here. In the final days of the 2018 session, expect to see continued debate over how to best address substance use and recovery, the behavioral health needs of students, surprise out of network medical bills, tobacco taxation and regulation, and more.

REGISTER NOW! Georgia Budget and Policy Institute and Georgians for a Healthy Future will be presenting “Changes in Health Care and Policy in the 2018 Georgia Legislative Session” on Thursday, April 19th at 10:00 AM. Register here.

 

Congressional debates over health care continue as part of spending negotiations

 

 

 

 

Over the last month or so, Congress has been focused on spending negotiations in order to pass a spending bill to fund the government for the remainder of the year and avoid a government shutdown. Health care continues to be a major topic in these conversations, especially in the Senate where activity surrounds efforts to stabilize the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance Marketplace. There is little agreement among Senate Republicans and Democrats about how to accomplish the shared goal of lowering health insurance premiums for health care consumers who purchase their coverage through the Marketplace; however, discussions are on-going.

Congress is scheduled to be on recess March 24-April 8.

UPCOMING EVENTS
 

GHF and Step Up Savannah co-host health advocacy training!

 

 

 

 

GHF and Step Up Savannah are partnering to host a health advocacy training on Tuesday, April 3rd. The event will be held at 6 pm at the United Way building at 428 Bull Street, Savannah, Ga. Participants will learn how they can participate and lead health advocacy efforts and recieve information about passing health advocacy issues in Georgia. Representatives from Healthy Savannah and Safety Net will also be in attendance to share local resources. If you live in and around Savannah and would like to attend the training, contact Robyn Wainner, Director at Step Up Savannah, 912.232.6747, rwainner@stepupsavannah.org.

Interested in hosting a similar training in your community? We want to partner with you to make that happen! Contact Alyssa Green at agreen@healthyfuturega.org for more information.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Michelle Conde joins GHF staff

 

 

GHF welcomed Michelle Conde as its new Communications & Special Projects Manager in early March. In this role, Michelle will manage GHF’S external communication channels (email, social media, earned media) and leverage social media for digital advocacy. She will also provide policy research support as needed and contribute to the organization’s policy analysis efforts. We are so pleased to have Michelle join the GHF team. For more on Michelle and for her contact information, click here.

GHF IN THE NEWS
Bill Would Let ‘Micro-Hospitals’ in Rural Georgia Counties

WABE  |  March 16, 2018


Nurse sponsors bill critics say would ease sales of tobacco in Georgia

Atlanta Journal Constitution  |  February 27, 2018

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