The Peach Pulse: August 2016

We are heartened that business leaders and health care industry stakeholders recognize the important role that coverage plays in a healthy and productive Georgia. We believe a coverage solution is one that extends coverage to all those Georgians caught in the coverage gap, does not erect unnecessary barriers to care, and maximizes the federal dollars set aside for Georgia. The Chamber’s proposal is an important step in this direction. Read more about the proposals and GHF’s position here.


Recent news articles about the task force proposals:

Task force unveils options to cover uninsured in Georgia | Georgia Health News
Georgia Chamber pitches conservative-friendly blueprint for Medicaid expansion | AJC
Ga. Chamber Releases Plan for Expanding Health Care Access | WABE


05_who-gets-medicaidDid you know that not everyone with a low income qualifies for Medicaid in Georgia today? Georgia has very restrictive Medicaid eligibility guidelines; adults without dependent children do not qualify for Medicaid, regardless of their income. Here’s who qualifies:

  • Elderly, blind, and disabled people with incomes below 75% of the federal poverty line (FPL) – $13,200 for an elderly couple
  • Parents with minor children with annual incomes below 38% FPL or $7,600 for a family of three
  • Pregnant women with incomes below 225% FPL, or $26,500 for an individual
  • Children are eligible for Medicaid and Peachcare at varying incomes levels as they age, and one in two Georiga kids is covered by those programs

If that was new information for you, share the infographic to the left on social media to spread the word.


Who doesn’t love to get mail? 

and age, but it still holds a lot of meaning to most people. If someone took the time to write you a letter to ask you to do something, wouldn’t that get your attention? Now imagine if you got multiple letters asking you to do something for your family, friends, and neighbors. That’s exactly what happened for a majority of Georgia’s state Senate and House members. In July, we mailed out over 1,100 postcards asking our legislators to close Georgia’s coverage gap. Read more about the postcard project here. If you haven’t signed the petition yet, it’s not too late! You can add your name here.

postcards rep-stacey-abrams1 sen-david-lucas


policy-prioritiesStudy committees are right around the corner!

Some of the most pressing and contentious health and insurance issues facing Georgians will be front and center during legislative study committee meetings this fall. Below are the committees in which GHF will be actively engaged on the advocacy and policy fronts:

Senate Study Committee on Surprise Billing Practices (SR 974)
This study committee is charged with assessing laws to protect consumers against surprise billing.

Senate Study Committee on Premium Assistance(SR 1056)
The committee will closely examine models and policies for premium assistance programs as an alternative to Medicaid expansion and is anticipated to be a forum for a robust discussion about policy options to close the coverage gap.

Senate Study Committee on Opioid Abuse (SR 1165)
This study committee will look at legislative approaches Georgia can take to stem the rise of opioid addiction and related overdose deaths.

For more on these and other study committees, check out Meredith’s blog post.


naicGHF’s Executive Director Cindy Zeldin attended the summer meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) last week in her capacity as a consumer representative to the NAIC. Cindy presented information on Georgia’s provider directory legislation (SB 302) on a panel during the meeting’s Consumer Liaison session. The consumer representatives as a group also released a new policy paper on prescription drug access and affordability, Promoting Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs: Policy Analysis and Consumer Recommendations for State Policymakes, ConsuemrAdvocates, and Health Care Stakeholders. Read more about the meeting and report in Cindy’s blog.


Tim Sweeney

For more than 10 years Tim set the standard for reliable and responsible health policy analysis in Georgia. His insights and analysis equipped Georgia’s health advocacy community with the information needed to be a strong voice for consumers. Tim will be awarded the Linda Smith Lowe Health Advocacy Award. More.

Carole Maddux

Carole lives and breathes health care access through her work leading Good Samaritan Health & Wellness Center in Pickens County. She provides a clear, moral voice for systemic change in health care, speaking out on behalf of Medicaid expansion and other important public policies. Carole will receive the Community Impact Award.More.

Rep. Stacey Abrams

As Minority Leader, Rep. Abrams leads her caucus in its efforts to enact legislation across a range of complex issues, always making time for health care. A tireless champion of Medicaid expansion, Rep. Abrams will receive the Powerhouse Policymaker Award. More.

Sen. P.K. Martin

Sen. Martin’s SB 302 is a groundbreaking piece of legislation that sets basic standards for provider directories and protections for consumers who rely on them. A second term legislator who isn’t afraid to take on complicated issues, Sen. Martin will receive the Powerhouse Policymaker Award. More.

abrams-standard-twitter-size-headshot carole-maddux-headhot martin-standar-twitter-size-headshot sweeney-standard-twitter-size-headshot

Tickets are now available! RSVP here.


SBIRT_CranberrySubstance use prevention should be at the forefront of the minds of Georgia policymakers as they convene the Opioid Abuse Senate study committee (SR 1165) to identify strategies to address the opioid epidemic in the upcoming months. Substance use can oftentimes be prevented and reduced through a public health approach such as SBIRT – screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment. As part of our advocacy and policy efforts to make the case for greater use of SBIRT, GHF and the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse commissioned a fiscal analysis of the costs and benefits of supporting SBIRT through Medicaid. Stay tuned for the release of the full report and white paper outlining key findings.


chidlrenshealthcoverageDespite a sharp drop in the rate of uninsured children since 2014, Georgia still has 189,000 uninsured children. Their families are without the financial protection that comes with coverage. To address this need, people who regularly work with children need to be aware of the importance of health coverage to children and have the resources they need to connect kids and families with coverage quickly and easily.

That’s why GHF partnered with the Georgia Departments of Education and Public Health to conduct a webinar called “Covering Kids.” Read more about the webinar and the CEU credits available for nurses.


EnrollmentBrief2016imageNew Policy Report Released

This month, GHF released our new enrollment report, Getting Georgia Covered: What We Can Learn from Consumer and Assister Experiences During the Third Open Enrollment Period. Inside the report you’ll find:

  • Key themes in consumer and assister experiences during the 2016 open enrollment period
  • Best practices for outreach, enrollment, and reaching eligible Georgians who remain uninsured
  • Policy opportunities to increase enrollment, improve access to care, and address affordability issues

Read more.

DSC_0299Getting Georgia Covered

Health advocates, service providers, and enrollment assisters combined forces this month for a day of learning, sharing and planning at our second annual Getting Georgia Covered summit. From more about the event and speakers, click here. For event photos, check out our Facebook photo album!


Task force unveils options to cover uninsured in Georgia
Georgia Health News | August 31, 2016

Blue Cross To Be Sole Obamacare Insurer In Most Ga. Counties
WABE | August 30, 2016

State accepts new hike in Blue Cross exchange premiums
Georgia Health News | August 23, 2016

Blue Cross may bump up rates on Georgia insurance exchange
Georgia Health News | August 19, 2016

Aetna Latest Insurer To Leave Georgia’s Insurance Exchange
WABE | August 17, 2016

Another big defection from Georgia insurance exchange
Georgia Health News | August 16, 2016

Aetna pulls out of Obamacare exchanges in Georgia, 10 other states
Georgia Report | August 16, 2016