Peach Pulse: February 13, 2013


New report quantifies the economic impact of expanding Medicaid in Georgia

CaptureAn analysis conducted by Dr. Bill Custer of Georgia State University and released today by the Healthcare Georgia Foundation finds that, if Georgia policymakers choose to accept the $40.5 billion in federal funds available to the state between 2014 and 2023 to expand Medicaid, this infusion of resources would create more than 70,000 jobs statewide, adding an annual $8.2 billion to statewide economic output and generating $276 million in state and local tax revenue annually.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, states can create a new eligibility category for Medicaid for people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or approximately $15,850 for an individual or $26,950 for a family of three. In Georgia, according to the report, about 694,000 people would gain health coverage under this expansion, mostly childless adults and some parents.

To date, Governor Deal has rejected the offer to expand coverage citing concerns about the cost to the state.  As this new report details, however, expanding Medicaid would be an economic engine for Georgia. Of the more than 70,000 jobs that would be created, just over half would be in the health care sector; however, other industries such as real estate, food services, and wholesale trade businesses would also gain jobs. The report also shows the geographic distribution of jobs created throughout Georgia by state service delivery region. To read the full report, click here.  For AJC coverage of the report, click here.

Legislative Update

The 2013 Legislative Session continues at a swift pace, with legislators in session today for day 17 of the 40-day session (the legislative calendar is available here). Here are some key health care updates:

  • Yesterday, the Health Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee heard from the Commissioners of the state’s health-related agencies, including the Department of Community Health and the Department of Public Health, about their proposed FY 2014 budgets. Today, the subcommittee will meet again from 2 – 4pm in Room 506 CLOB to take public comment on the proposed budgets. If you would like to comment, you must sign up in advance in Room 245 of the State Capitol. The Georgia Budget & Policy Institute has released an analysis of the 2014 proposed budget for the Department of Community Health, available here.
  • SB 24, which would authorize the Department of Community Health to levy a fee on hospitals to continue drawing down federal funds to support Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids, was passed by both the House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor this morning. The current hospital fee is set to expire on June 30, 2013. The renewal of the fee was essential to ensuring Medicaid and PeachCare’s solvency and preserving access to hospital care in Georgia. To read AJC coverage of the renewal, click here.
  • HB 198 would require navigators to be licensed, place certain restrictions on their functions, and would give the Georgia Insurance Commissioner regulatory authority over them. Navigators are organizations or entities that apply for and receive federal grants authorized by the Affordable Care Act to provide individuals and small businesses with impartial information and assistance with enrollment in health coverage in the new health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges. While it is important that navigators are qualified to perform these functions and that there is adequate oversight to protect consumers, consumer advocates are also concerned that overly restricting navigators could have a chilling effect on the community-focused organizations whose participation in the navigator program will be critical in connecting hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations to coverage. Advocates worked with legislators to improve the bill, which passed the House Insurance Committee last week and was passed by the Rules Committee yesterday. To read a recent AJC article on this issue, click here.

Advocates Will Convene at the Capitol on 2/19/13 to Highlight Importance of Coverage

CoverGA_logo_BlueBackgroundGeorgians for a Healthy Future and the Cover Georgia coalition will be heading to the State Capitol on Tuesday, February 19th from 9am to 1pm to advocate for covering Georgia’s uninsured through an expansion of the Medicaid program.  For more details about the event and to RSVP, click here.

With one in five Georgians currently uninsured, many Georgians have no access to health insurance coverage.  The Affordable Care Act gives us the option of accepting federal dollars to expand coverage to low income adults who make up to 138% of the federal poverty level, approximately $15,400 a year in 2012. This would allow about 600,000 Georgians to gain health coverage.

Our state policymakers need to hear from health care consumers, patients, providers, and stakeholders about how important this issue is to them. We need your voice! Please join us at the Capitol on the 19th!

Carter Center Hosting Event on the ACA’s Impact on Access to Mental Health Services in Georgia 2/14/13

The Carter Center, in partnership with the Georgia Association of Community Service Boards, and the Georgia Association for Primary Health Care, is hosting a nonpartisan public policy forum on the Affordable Care Act’s impact on Georgia’s efforts to improve and expand access to mental health and substance abuse services on Feb. 14, 2013, from 2-4:30 p.m. in the Carter Center’s Ivan Allen III Pavilion.  The event will include opening remarks from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Frank Berry, Healthcare Georgia Foundation President Gary Nelson and a panel discussion to include:

  • Cindy Zeldin, executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future
  • Tim Sweeney, director of Health Policy at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
  • Ron Bachman, president and CEO of Healthcare Visions Inc.
  • Frank Bonati, executive director, Gateway Behavioral Health

To register for the event, email  For more information about the event, click here.

Medicaid 101: An Advocate Training 2/26/13

Expanding Medicaid is one of the most important steps that the State of Georgia could take to help low income people and families in Georgia. In order to convince policymakers, it will take the combined efforts of all advocacy organizations who care about social justice and equity.

Join Georgia Equality, Georgians for a Healthy Future, and the Cover Georgia coalition for a training for advocates on  Tuesday, February 26th, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm at the Phillip Rush Center (1530 DeKalb Avenue).

There is no cost to attend but registration is requested. Space is limited so please register today.