Peach Pulse: November 4, 2011

What’s New in Georgia
Reforming Georgia’s Health Insurance Marketplace: All About Exchanges

Earlier this week, Georgians for a Healthy Future joined with 150 health care advocacy organizations across the country to submit public comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on their proposed federal rule regarding health insurance exchanges, the new state-level health insurance marketplaces that will take shape across the country in 2014. One of the most important pieces of this process is making sure that the exchange works for consumers and not just for insurance companies. That’s why we joined in recommending that HHS prohibit people with conflicts of interest from serving on the governing body and take steps to ensure adequate representation of consumer interests. You can read the full public comments here.

Meanwhile, the Governor’s Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Committee has been meeting to make recommendations for a new health insurance marketplace in Georgia. The committee held its fifth and final full meeting on October 27th with a final report due to Governor Deal by December 15th. You can download all subcommittee reports, as presented at last Thursday’s meeting, here and the minutes from the meeting here. To read a recent Georgia Health News article highlighting the recent work of the Exchange Committee, click here.  It is also important to work towards ensuring consumer protections at the state level. As the lone consumer representative on the committee, we will continue to advocate for policy choices that are good for consumers and will share updates on this process and opportunities for advocacy as they arise. You can learn more about Georgians for a Healthy Future’s priorities for building a consumer-friendly exchange by downloading our issue brief here. If your organization would like to learn more about this important issue as you prepare for the 2012 Legislative Session, during which exchange legislation is expected, please contact us and we will be happy to give you additional information or possibly provide a briefing for your group.

Department of Community Health’s Medicaid Redesign Project Continues, Advocates Weigh In

Over the last several weeks, Navigant, the consulting firm hired by the Georgia Department of Community Health to oversee the Medicaid Redesign assessment, has been conducting focus groups across the state as part of the environmental scan stage of the process.  They have met with providers, consumers, advocates and vendors.

To ensure consumer health advocates have the information and tools to weigh in on this process, Georgians for a Healthy Future and our partner organizations have been monitoring the redesign process with an eye towards advocates for changes that improve health care coverage, access, and quality. In a few days, Georgians for a Healthy Future will launch a web page where we will house timely and relevant information to help advocates like you exercise your voice in this process.

Opportunity to Provide Input to HHS on Essential Health Benefits

Beginning in 2014, many health insurance plans, including those to be offered through the new state-basedhealth 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. HHS is seeking input from stakeholders by holding regional listening sessions. The Region IV listening session will be held in Atlanta on November 16th from 10am to 12pm at the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center. RSVPs are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. To RSVP for this opportunity to provide input in this process, e-mail your name, title, organization, e-mail address, and phone number to the HHS Regional Office at

Upcoming Georgia Health Agency Meetings

The new Department of Public Health will hold its next monthly board meeting on November 8th. Details are available here.  The Department of Community Health’s board meets on November 10th. Those meeting details are available here.

A New Resource Guide on Affordable Care Act Grants

The Affordable Care Act authorized a range of grants that states, communities, and other entities can apply to receive for certain health care initiatives such as prevention, public health, and provider workforce development. A new guide presenting clear, easy-to-find, accurate information on the pilot projects, grants, and workforce development initiatives is now available. It includes a directory of departments and offices in charge of administering the programs. Included is a grant description, application timeline, most recent appropriation and information on eligibility requirements.  To access the guide, click here.

Events and Forums

Building a Healthy Georgia: The Impact of Health Care Reform on Central Georgia’s 50+ Community

On Tuesday, November 15th, Georgians for a Healthy Future and AARP of Georgia are hosting a Building a Healthy Georgia Event in Macon.  The focus will be on the impact of health care reform on central Georgia’s 50+ community. We’ll answer questions like:

  • What does the law means for uninsured adults aged 50+?
  • How will the individual insurance market change?
  • How will the law help me pay for my prescription drugs?
  • What will it take to make the ACA work for all Georgia citizens?
The event will take place at the Macon Marriott Convention Center from 2 PM to 4 PM. For more information and to register for the event, click here.

The Prevalence and Toll of Diabetes on Georgia

On Tuesday, November 22nd, Georgians for a Healthy Future will hold a webinar training for D-ATLAS, a unique tool that enables health advocates and policymakers to map health disparities in diagnosed type 2 diabetes and obesity (BMI of 30 or greater). The D-ATLAS provides the prevalence of and cost associated with diabetes and the prevalence of obesity by race/ethnicity, age, or gender in the United States, by individual state, county or by legislative district.  The ability to create customized maps that localize diabetes disparities is a compelling reference source and these maps may be generated and disseminated to support educational, advocacy, and public affairs initiatives.  The webinar will take place from 10 AM to 12 PM.  To learn more about D-ATLAS, click here.  To register for the webinar, email Amanda Ptashkin.

SAVE THE DATE: Health Care Unscrambled 2012