Peach Pulse Archive 2010
Young and Insured:
On September 23, 2010, the dependent care provision of the Affordable Care Act goes into effect, allowing young adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans regardless of their school status. To raise awareness about this new coverage option and to provide information about how it will work, Georgians for a Healthy Future will be holding an event on the Georgia State University Campus on Thursday, September 23rd. Speaking at the event are students as well as parents affected by the new provision, a physician to illustrate the provider-perspective, and others with a stake in this new insurance option. We encourage all those in the Atlanta area with an interest in learning more about this new coverage option for young adults to attend this event and encourage young adults and parents to attend. For more information, email Amanda Ptashkin. Additionally, the national group Young Invincibles has launched a new website to help those that will now be eligible for dependent care to learn more about it. Visit www.gettingcovered.org for more information.
Is it Worth $10 to Save a Life?
Only 15 designated trauma centers serve the state’s 9.3 million people–an inadequate number leaving too many Georgians without rapid access to life-saving trauma care. As a result, of the 40,000 cases of major trauma each year in Georgia, only 10,000 are treated at one of these designated trauma centers. In November, Georgia voters will be asked to approve a constitutional amendment for an annual $10 car registration fee. The $10 vehicle registration fee will dedicate funding for specialized medical services that help people survive serious injuries across the state.
Trauma care in Georgia is far from what it needs to be to address the needs of the state’s population. Only four hospitals in the state are equipped to deal with the most critical injuries. Dedicated funding will help open new trauma centers, and keep those that exist from closing. To learn more about the campaign to pass the ballot initiative and what you can do to get involved, visit www.yes2savelives.com or contact Howard Franklin to have your organization join the advocacy efforts.
Tax Revenues Continue to Rise in August:
On Wednesday, Governor Perdue announced that tax collections for August 2010 were up by almost 13 percent over August 2009 collections, marking the third consecutive month of gains over the previous year’s month. As a result, Fiscal Year 2011 tax collections are up 8.6 percent over last year’s numbers at this point in the FY 2010 Fiscal Year. The FY 2011 assumes 4 percent growth over FY 2010 for the entire year; for now, the budget cuts that Governor Perdue ordered earlier this summer remain in effect. For more information, click here. For additional state budget analysis and information, see the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute.
Public Health and Prevention Trust Fund at Risk:
The Affordable Care Act includes a major new investment in prevention and public health: The Prevention and Public Health Fund is designated for use in communities across the country to target key public health issues such as tobacco cessation and efforts to reduce obesity by encouraging better nutrition and increased physical activity. The funding will also be used to strengthen state and local public health infrastructure, support data collection and analysis for community-based and clinical-based prevention activities and to expand and improve training for the public health workforce. Here in Georgia, these funds will be critical to strengthen our public health system. The fund, however, is at risk of being gutted through an amendment proposed by U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) on which the U.S. Senate will vote on September 14th.
The Johanns amendment would use the Prevention and Public Health Fund as an offset to repeal a tax compliance provision (also created under the Affordable Care Act) through the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act. The shortfall that this creates would be paid for by eliminating the $11 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. If this amendment passes, there will be no funding to support these crucial public health initiatives. An alternative amendment proposed by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) would also address the concerns raised by small businesses on the tax compliance provision but would preserve the Prevention and Public Health Fund. More information is available here. Please contact Georgia Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss and ask them to support the preservation of the Prevention and Public Health Fund. To learn more and take action, click here.
Connecting Kids to Coverage Challenge:
On September 3rd, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced a renewed effort to cover the nearly 5 million uninsured children throughout the country, including 193,000 children here in Georgia, who are eligible for but not enrolled in existing Medicaid and CHIP programs. In Georgia, 80.6% of children eligible for these programs are enrolled, which is not statistically different from the national average. In conjunction with this announcement, two companion reports were released in the journal Health Affairs, one releasing state-by-state data on eligible but enrolled children and the other describing tools to enroll eligible children. To learn more about the challenge, including the range of organizations who are participating, see www.insurekidsnow.gov. For more information about children’s health here in Georgia, see www.georgiavoices.org.
Opportunity to Support Child Nutrition Programs:
The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act expires on September 30, 2010. In August, the U.S. Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307), which in part expands access to healthy school meals, establishes higher health standards for school lunches, and regulates the food available in school vending machines. On the House side, the House Education and Labor Committee passed the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act (H.R. 5504), but the full U.S. House of Representatives has not yet voted on that legislation. When Congress returns from summer recess on September 13, they are expected to act on this issue. While both pieces of legislation improve the nutritional quality of food served to children in schools and improve access to meals, the House language is more comprehensive in its approach to addressing child hunger. Voices for Georgia’s Children is urging Members to support legislation to strengthen child nutrition programs as much as possible via a letter to Members of the Georgia Delegation of the U.S. House of Representatives. To read a copy of the letter and to add your organization’s signature and support to it, please contact Whitney Brown at Voices for Georgia’s Children at email@example.com.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND YOU:
California Passes Legislation to Establish Health Insurance Exchange:
The Affordable Care Act requires states to establish health insurance exchanges to restructure the individual health insurance marketplace by 2014, or to allow their citizens to access a federal fallback exchange. California is on track to become the first state to establish such an exchange, having passed legislation to do so on August 25th. California’s Governor is expected to sign the legislation. More information is available here. All states have the opportunity to apply for federal grant dollars to begin planning for the establishment of a health insurance exchange. We will keep you updated as we learn about Georgia’s plans.
Healthcare.gov Web Portal Now Available in Spanish:
This week, the Department of Health and Human Services unveiled www.CuidadodeSalud.gov, a Spanish language website that will connect consumers to new information and resources that will help them access quality, affordable health care coverage. The website is a one-stop-shop for information about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as well as other health care resources. The website connects consumers to quality rankings for local health care providers as well as preventive services.
Latinos suffer disproportionately from chronic health diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Latinos also have the highest rate of uninsured, with more than one in three going without insurance. Cuidadodesalud will help address these disparities by including price estimates for health insurance plans as well as new information on preventing disease and illness and improving the quality of health care. The website also includes a series of mechanisms through which users can indicate whether pages were helpful to them, so feedback can be used to grow and strengthen the site.MORE >