Peach Pulse: June 5, 2013




CARE-M Coalition Update

CARE-M (Coalition to Advance Redesign Effectiveness for Medicaid) is a group of organizations who advocate on behalf of vulnerable populations, patients, and health care consumers in Georgia.  Georgians for a Healthy Future is a member of the coalition. The coalition was formed shortly after the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) announced plans to explore redesigning Georgia’s Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids (CHIP) programs to ensure that the voices of these patients and consumers were heard in the process. Many CARE-M partners have been appointed to and serve on task forces and work groups convened by DCH to gain stakeholder input.
In May 2013, CARE-M released an updated version of its principles and concerns around Medicaid redesign.  The revised guiding principle is:

  • Improved healthcare outcomes for members should be the primary goal that drives changes to Medicaid. Improvement in the Medicaid system of services and supports will result in improved healthcare outcomes for the members.

To read more about the principles and concerns with the redesign process, click here.  For more information about CARE-M, click here.

Medicaid expansion could be a game changer for Georgians with mental illness

Georgia ranks 9th in the nation in the number of uninsured adults with a mental illness who could gain coverage through the Medicaid expansion, according to a new report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The NAMI report describes the barriers that people with mental illness face in accessing services and the important role that Medicaid plays in connecting people to services so they can be healthy and productive members of their communities. Expanding Medicaid in Georgia is a major opportunity to change the lives of more than 86,000 low-income uninsured adults with mental illness in Georgia–if you haven’t already, please sign the petition in support of expanding Medicaid in Georgia and join us in our campaign to Cover Georgia!  The full NAMI report on Medicaid and mental health is available here.

ACA is estimated to significantly increase the number of Georgians who start their own businessRWJF Jobs Infographic

According to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, thanks to provisions in the Affordable Care Act that preclude coverage denials based on pre-existing conditions and that will make health insurance more accessible and affordable, an estimated 56,000 Georgians will be able to start their own businesses who would not have otherwise done so.  To read the full report, click here.









GHF and the work of the Cover Georgia coalition featured in the New York Times: States’ policies on health care exclude some of the poorest

On May 24, GHF was featured in a New York Times article focusing on how states are implementing the ACA and how that affects various populations.  When asked specifically about our state’s Medicaid expansion efforts, GHF outreach and advocacy director Amanda Ptashkin said, “Hundreds of thousands of people with incomes below the poverty level would be eligible for Medicaid if the state decided to move forward with the expansion of Medicaid. As things now stand, they will not be eligible for anything. What do we do for them? What do we tell them?”  To read the full article, click here.

Over the past several months, hundreds of Georgia health care consumers have chosen to speak out about what expanding Medicaid would mean for them by filling out postcards addressed to Governor Deal. The postcards ask him to support the Medicaid expansion in Georgia. Additionally, more than 1,700 Georgians have signed the online petition. The Cover Georgia coalition is collecting these signatures and stories and will deliver them to Governor Deal prior to the start of the 2014 legislative session.  We need your help to make sure these voices are heard!

Please join the efforts of the Cover Georgia coalition however you can. Here are some suggested ways to engage in this important issue:

  1. 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 138% FPL.  For talking points, click here.
  2. Sign and share the petition to Governor Deal.
  3. Share your story with us–are you one of the people who would gain coverage with expanded Medicaid? Do you know people who would? Have them share their story with us to help put a face on this important issue to policy makers and the media.
  4. Write an op-ed or letter to the editor.  Explaining how the expansion would affect different populations across the state is our best way to show how widespread the effects of the decision’s reach.  For help with media outreach, email Amanda Ptashkin.  For an excellent example of a compelling op-ed on the topic, click here.
  5. Join Cover Georgia and become an active participant in a statewide coalition dedicated to expanding coverage for Georgians.




Recent Event Recap!

Core to our mission at Georgians for a Healthy Future is robust outreach and education to various audiences throughout the state.  GHF staff has been busy at work sharing critical information about implementation of the ACA, the upcoming wave of enrollment through the marketplace, or exchange, and the consequences of expanding or declining the Medicaid expansion.  Here are some of our recent presentations:

  • On June 4, executive director Cindy Zeldin presented to the Midtown Atlanta Rotary on the future of health in Georgia, part of the Rotary’s health theme for the month of June. Her presentation is available for download here.


  • On May 28, outreach and advocacy director Amanda Ptashkin joined the Voters Guild of Metro Atlanta for their monthly meeting and shared information about the ACA, its implementation and the next big things on the horizon.
  • On May 21, outreach and advocacy director, Amanda Ptashkin, joined the Greater Augusta Health Network at their board meeting to discuss the role of navigators in the context of assisting consumers enroll in the new health insurance marketplace.
  • On May 3, executive director Cindy Zeldin served on a panel at the Georgia Charitable Care Network’s annual conference and discussed Georgia’s uninsured and the opportunities and challenges ahead for connecting Georgians to coverage. Her presentation is available for download here.

Decoding the Affordable Care Act: Issues Conference 2013

Please join Georgians for a Healthy Future at the 2013 Issues Conference: “Decoding the Affordable Care Act” taking place on Saturday, June 15, 2013 from 10am to 12pm at the Fayette County Library.  This event is being sponsored by State Representative Ronnie Mabra, District 63.

This year’s conference is purposed at helping individuals understand the implications of the new health care law and highlight its major provisions. The conference will feature presentations and discussion by an expert, non-partisan panel followed by a question and answer session.

Natalie D. Hernandez, PhD, MPH
Health Policy Leadership Fellow
Satcher Health Leadership Institute
Morehouse School of Medicine

Starla Hairston Blanks, MBA, CPHP
Director of Community Health Promotion and Policy Development
Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved
Morehouse School of Medicine

Kirkland McGhee, Esq.
Vice President & Regional Counsel
Legal Services and Government Relations
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia

Amanda Ptashkin, JD
Outreach and Advocacy Director
Georgians for a Healthy Future

This event is free and open to the public.  Please help us prepare for your arrival by RSVPing to 2013 Issues Conference.


iStock_000010179382XSmallAll Hands on Deck! An Evening with Georgians for a Healthy Future

The Georgians for a Healthy Future board of directors invites you to join us for an evening of camaraderie, conversation, and celebration as we gear up for the next big phase of health reform implementation: connecting hundreds of thousands of uninsured Georgians to coverage. Thanks to national health reform, consumers have more options than they have ever had before. But covering Georgia’s uninsured will take all of us, working in concert, to move our state forward. We need all hands on deck! Please join us on the evening of June 27th to celebrate our successes and prepare for the challenges ahead.



Featuring remarks by: Senator Jason Carter

WHEN:  Thursday, June 27, 2013, 6pm to 8pm
WHERE:  18th Floor Deck, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough






Host committee (in formation)


Dr. Harry Heiman & Abby Friedman

Representative Pat Gardner

Dr. Doug Skelton

Healthcare Georgia Foundation

Dr. Edward Fernández-Vila and Mr. Jeff Cornett

Cindy Zeldin & Doug Busk

Lenz Marketing

AARP Georgia

Advocates for Responsible Care

Kent & Diane Alexander

Julie Edelson

Iris & Bruce Feinberg

Jeff Graham

Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia

Susan Kupferberg

Jeanney & Steve Kutner

Catherine Smith

Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia

Marci Thomas

Joann Yoon


Host committee opportunities available:

Captain ~ $1000 and up (6 tickets)
First Mate ~ $500 (4 tickets)
Cadet ~ $250 (2 tickets)

Please contact Cindy Zeldin to join the host committee or for more information about the event.

General tickets are $60.  To register, click here.