Peach Pulse: January 18, 2013


Please voice your support for covering Georgia’s uninsured by expanding Medicaid

Nearly two million Georgians have no health insurance at all, among the highest in the nation. This problem has long been recognized as a tragic reality for the one in five Georgians who struggle to access medical care when they need it, as a strain on our state’s health care delivery system, and as a weight on Georgia’s economy. Georgia has the ability to comprehensively address this problem thanks to approximately $33 billion in new federal funding over 10 years to cover low-income uninsured Georgians through Medicaid. As these dollars filter through Georgia’s economy, they will have an estimated economic impact of $72 billion.

But Governor Deal is still saying no to the Medicaid expansion, even as other states across the country are saying yes and even though Georgia would be responsible for zero cents on the dollar for the first three years and no more than ten cents on the dollar thereafter. Georgia cannot afford to maintain the status quo while other states invest heavily in their health systems with federal tax dollars paid by Georgians.

Last week, Georgians for a Healthy Future and more than forty organizations joined together to launch the Cover Georgia campaign in support of the Medicaid expansion, but policymakers also need to hear from their constituents. Here is what you can do:

  1. Please take five minutes to call Governor Deal at 404-656-1776 and ask him to support expanding Medicaid in Georgia to people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.
  2. Please visit to learn more about Medicaid and sign the petition in support of the Medicaid expansion.
  3. Find out who your legislators are here and ask them to support expanding Medicaid.
  4. Please share this information with your friends and neighbors and ask them to join you in supporting the Medicaid expansion by contacting their elected officials and signing the petition.


The 2013 Georgia Legislative Session is underway

It was a busy first week at the State Capitol, as the Senate passed legislation (SB 24) authorizing the Department of Community Health to assess a fee on hospitals to secure federal matching funds for the state’s Medicaid program. Without the assessment, the Medicaid program faces a budget shortfall.  SB 24 now moves to the House.

The Legislature will not officially be in Session next week but the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will hear from state agencies about their budget proposals. The health-related agencies will make presentations on Thursday morning in Room 341 of the State Capitol. These presentations are open to the public. The Department of Community Health’s presentation is scheduled for 10:15am and the Department of Public Health is at 11:15am on January 24th.

Open enrollment for child only policies

Thanks to the enactment of HB 1166, child only policies are once again available in the individual health insurance marketplace in Georgia. However, there is a short open enrollment period to sign up (January 1 – 31st of this year). To learn more, click here or contact the Georgia Department of Insurance at 800-656-2298.


Georgians for a Healthy Future’s 2013 Policy Priorities

Each year, Georgians for a Healthy Future develops policy priorities that guide our advocacy work on behalf of health care consumers. In 2013, we have identified six priority areas that, if implemented, would extend health care coverage to more Georgians, improve access to care, and make Georgia a healthier state. These priorities were developed with input from community partners and stakeholders and we hope you’ll join us in advocating for them this year:

  • Extend health insurance coverage to a substantial portion of Georgia’s uninsured by expanding Medicaid
  • Preserve and strengthen consumer protections for Georgians in private health insurance plans through both federal and state advocacy
  • Ensure access to quality health care for Medicaid and PeachCare beneficiaries
  • Strengthen Georgia’s public health system
  • Increase the tobacco tax; and
  • Support policies and practices that advance health equity.

To learn more about our priorities, click here.

Thank you for making Health Care Unscrambled a success!


More than 200 health care consumer and patient advocates, stakeholders, and providers came out on the morning of January 10th for Georgians for a Healthy Future’s third annual Health Care Unscrambled policy breakfast event. Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic, one of the nation’s leading health and social policy writers, shared his insights about health reform and we heard from Georgia policymakers about what’s on their minds for 2013. Pictures from the event can be found here.