Peach Pulse: November 22, 2011


What We Are Thankful For

At Georgians for a Healthy Future, we envision a day in which all Georgians will have the quality, affordable health care they need to lead healthy lives and contribute to the health of their communities. Working towards this vision takes many forms: talking directly with local community members throughout Georgia about the health care issues they’re facing; partnering with other organizations to form coalitions to build and mobilize support for better health care policies to address these needs; and engagement with policymakers to extend health care coverage to more Georgians, expand access to care, and ultimately improve health outcomes. We couldn’t do any of this without YOU!  Thank you for telling us your health care stories, for collaborating with us on shared goals, for volunteering with us, and for contributing your time and dollars to our health care advocacy efforts.
Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

What’s New in Georgia
Advocacy Demystified: Tools and Strategies for Effective Consumer Health Advocacy

Advocacy may seem overwhelming, but it’s a lot easier–and can have a bigger impact–than you might imagine.  You already have the knowledge, passion, and commitment to be a successful and effective health care advocate.  All you need are the right tools.  Today we are releasing our latest issue brief: Advocacy Demystified: Tools and Strategies for Effective Consumer Health Advocacy, to arm you with the tools you need to advocate for health care change and empower you to start making a difference in your communities. This is a tool meant for sharing so feel free to send to any individuals or organizations who you think would find it useful. Click here to access the issue brief.

Georgia’s health insurance exchange committee finalizes work, receives national press

The final report of the Governor’s health insurance exchange advisory committee is expected on December 15th. The committee held its last full meeting on October 27th (click here for meeting minutes) and is now drafting the final report, which is expected to be the basis for legislation in 2012 reforming Georgia’s health insurance marketplace through the establishment of an exchange. The work of the committee received attention in the Washington Post and Kaiser Health News this week. Georgians for a Healthy Future is representing the consumer voice on the committee and will continue to provide updates and advocacy opportunities on this process as they arise. To see Georgians for a Healthy Future’s priorities for a consumer-friendly health insurance exchange, download our brief here.

Developing essential health benefits: Opportunity to provide input

Beginning in 2014, many health insurance plans, including those to be offered through the new state-based health insurance exchanges, must cover a minimum package of preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic services and products comparable to those offered in a typical employment-based plan. The specifics of the package are being developed right now by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and HHS has encouraged consumer advocates to provide input. Here is how to weigh in:

Step 1: Learn more about essential health benefits and this process by reading issue summaries here and here or by participating in an upcoming webinar hosted by the National Academy for State Health Policy here.

Step 2: Prepare and e-mail your comments to HHS has requested that comments address some or all of the following 5 points below:

  • In keeping with the title of the Institute of Medicine report “Essential Health Benefits—Balancing Coverage and Cost,” how can the Department best meet the dual goals of balancing the comprehensiveness of coverage included in essential health benefits and affordability?
  • How might the Department ensure that essential health benefits reflect an appropriate balance among the categories so that they are not unduly weighted toward any category?
  • What policy principles and criteria should be taken into account to prevent discrimination against individuals because of their age, disability status, or expected length of life as the Affordable Care Act requires?
  • What models should HHS consider in developing essential health benefits?
  • What criteria should be used to update essential health benefits over time and what should the process be for their modification?

Events and Forums


Building a Healthy Georgia: Widening the Safety Net and Ensuring Greater Access to Care

On Wednesday, November 30th, Georgians for a Healthy Future is hosting a Building a Healthy Georgia Event in Savannah.  The focus will be on widening the safety net and ensuring greater access to care for Georgians living in the Coastal Region. We’ll cover topics including:

  • Local perspectives on the specific health care challenges facing the coastal region
  • How the Affordable Care Act impacts the community and individuals; Georgia’s opportunity to customize
  • Widening the safety net and expanding access to care
  • Medicaid redesign and upcoming 2014 expansion

The event will take place at the Coastal Georgia Center from 4 PM to 6 PM. For more information and to register for the event, click here.

SAVE THE DATE: Healthcare Unscrambled 2012

Health Care Unscrambled, Georgians for a Healthy Future’s annual policy breakfast, brings together health care policymakers, stakeholders, experts, and advocates for an energizing look ahead at the top health issues facing our state as the 2012 Legislative Session gets underway.  Please be sure to save the date!  This year’s breakfast will be on Thursday, January 12th from 8 AM to 10:30 AM and boasts:

  • A panel discussion with Georgia legislators and state officials, including Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Representative Pat Gardner, Representative Richard Smith, and several more to be announced
  • A keynote presentation from Dr. Len Nichols, one of the nation’s leading health economists
  • Highlights from GHF’s forums and workshops with community leaders across the state
  • GHF’s 2012 policy priorities announced
To purchase tickets or to become a sponsor of the event, click here.  We hope to see you in January!