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In The News

Georgians for a Healthy Future is frequently cited in news articles about health care issues, ensuring the consumer perspective is heard. Read news stories featuring Georgians for a Healthy Future’s perspective below.


Groups working to help low-income Georgians avoid losing Medicaid during ‘unwinding’

  • by Jess Mador
  • WABE
Due to this, Georgia is likely to see some of the most extensive coverage losses in the country, said Georgians for a Healthy Future Executive Director Laura Colbert. “Some of those coverage losses are going to be among kids who are still eligible for Medicaid. And they may lose that coverage just because of the bureaucracy of the renewal process,” she said. “Some adult coverage losses that we see are really going to be because Georgia has not yet opted to cover low-income adults and really make the Medicaid program complete.”
See the article for the full details

Georgia’s Medicaid redetermination process gets rolling

  • by Rebecca Grapevine
  • Capitol Beat News Service

“I have seen the state agencies, both DCH and DHS, come forward with really good faith efforts to plan as best they can,” said Laura Colbert, executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future.

“The trickiest part of this seems to be maybe staffing for both DHS and DCH … hiring enough Medicaid eligibility workers. Making sure they are trained properly and prepared to do that job over the next 12 to 14 months is going to be very difficult in this work and labor environment.”

State budget hearings earlier this year highlighted the labor shortages and high turnover rates most state agencies face.

Many adults will lose coverage because Georgia is one of 10 states that have not fully expanded Medicaid, Colbert said.

Some children also may lose coverage because of the complexity of the bureaucratic process, she added.

“Some folks are going to be ineligible for Medicaid and not eligible for anything else,” Colbert said. “We will see very large coverage losses.”

Other adults who lose coverage may be able to enroll in Affordable Care Act plans available on the Healthcare.gov marketplace. Those who lose coverage will be able to apply for Healthcare.gov plans as early as 60 days before their Medicaid/PeachCare coverage ends and up until July 31, 2024.

However, only those Georgians who earn 100% or more of the federal poverty level ($13,590 for a single person) will qualify.

Those who earn less than the federal poverty level will be able to seek coverage through a new Georgia program, called Georgia Pathways, that launches on July 1.

Under that program, Georgians who work, volunteer, or enroll in educational programs for at least 80 hours per week can also qualify for the state Medicaid program. Estimates of how many people will be eligible for that program vary.

“There may be upwards of 200,000 members already on Medicaid that would qualify for [Pathways],” DCH Commissioner Caylee Noggle told lawmakers in January. “They will be transitioned to that [program] during their eligibility redetermination if they’re eligible.”

But the number could be much lower, said Colbert of Georgians for a Healthy Future.

“It’s likely then that fewer than 100,000 folks are going to gain coverage because of really difficult bureaucratic work requirements and premiums that are not standard for the Medicaid program,” Colbert said this week.

Colbert noted that the process has only been underway for less than a month, so it’s difficult to pinpoint trouble spots.

“We are hearing some people think that it’s disinformation or that it’s a scam, that it’s an effort for some unknown actor to try to get people’s personal information,” Colbert said. “It’s more important than ever that Georgians really understand the importance and the impact of Medicaid.”

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A Georgia bill to increase mental health funding failed to pass the Senate. What happened and what’s next?

  • Georgia Law News

This year’s mental health law addresses the needs of people transitioning between homelessness, the emergency room and prison, said Whitney Griggs, health policy analyst for Georgians for a Healthy Future. They are people with severe and persistent mental illnesses who fall through the cracks of the system, she said.

She added that not a single system – the housing system, the health care system, the justice system – is really designed to meet the needs of these individuals.

The populace that HB 520 sought to help, so-called “familiar faces,” gobbles up a huge chunk of state resources and state dollars, Griggs said, which is why it’s important to address the system that causes those faces to cycle through those three locations.

She said the bill “did things like banning local housing companies from not providing housing to someone because they had a criminal background”.

And proponents insist that early intervention is the best way to proactively take care of Georgians’ health.

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Thousands of Georgians could lose Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids as COVID-19 rules phase out

  • by Jess Mador
  • WABE

“As the Medicaid unwinding unfolds, doctors, pharmacists and community members are likely to see an increase in the number of uninsured children and adults. These Georgians may be newly unable to access care or have difficulty filling a prescription,” according to a Georgians For a Healthy Future report.

The nonprofit group estimated that nearly 550,000 Georgians will lose coverage, either because they are no longer eligible or for administrative reasons. These could include problems, such as a letter being mailed to the wrong address, lack of home internet or language barriers.

See the article for the full details

A bill to increase funding for mental health failed to pass the Senate. What happened, what’s next

  • by Ellen Eldridge and Sofi Gratas
  • Georgia Public Broadcasting

This year’s mental health bill addressed the needs of people who cycle between homelessness, emergency rooms and jail, said Whitney Griggs, the health policy analyst for Georgians for a Healthy Future.

“[Those] who have really severe and persistent mental illness and are just kind of falling through the cracks in the system,” she said. “And no one system — the housing system, the health care system, the judicial system — are really designed to meet their needs.”

See the article for the full details

End of pandemic relief to oust hundreds of thousands from Georgia Medicaid

  • by Ariel Hart
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“I’m nervous,” said Laura Colbert, executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future, a health care advocacy nonprofit.

“This is going to be the biggest coverage event since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” she said. “Our state agencies are historically not well resourced and can struggle to fulfill their mission… I’m concerned for Georgia families that policymakers have not invested enough resources, and as a result won’t be successful.”

However, Colbert added, “I’ve also seen evidence that people with the state are being thoughtful, so that gives me some optimism as well.”

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With Black Residents at Risk of Losing Medicaid, These Orgs Are Here to Help

  • by Kenya Hunter
  • Capitol Beat News Service

This month, the Poor People’s Campaign, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, and Georgians for a Healthy Future hosted a webinar about the unwinding process. The partnerships and corresponding information campaigns are an effort to provide information communities with resources needed to stay covered.

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Kaiser Permanente awards $600,000 in grants to 10 rural Georgia hospitals

  • by Donovan J. Thomas
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Many rural Georgians are faced with compounding health disparities, such as a lack of job-based medical insurance, long travel times to access medical services and increased rates of chronic conditions, according to Georgians for a Healthy Future.

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This is how Georgia lawmakers are balancing public health and tax hikes on smokers

  • by Ellen Eldridge
  • Georgia Public Broadcasting

Andy Lord, who spoke on behalf of both Georgians for a Healthy Future and the Georgia Society of Clinical Oncology, argued there already exists a precedent among private insurance companies to charge smokers for their unhealthy choices.

“If you’re the same age, height, weight, everything, but one’s a smoker and one’s a nonsmoker, the private sector model says we charge the smoker more, right? That’s a business decision,” Lord said. “Higher risk behaviors result in higher premiums. That’s ubiquitous across the insurance industry.”

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Georgia’s Medicaid expansion will cover more low-income adults. But it will also leave many behind

  • by Sofi Gratas
  • Georgia Public Broadcasting

Laura Colbert is Executive Director of Georgians for a Healthy Future. She has doubts.

“The evidence is very nonexistent that the work requirement would motivate somebody to kind of go out and get a job when they wouldn’t otherwise,” Colbert said.

Why, she asks, would health insurance be a stronger incentive to work than basics like food and shelter?

“Medicaid will not pay your rent, your utility bill or put gas in your car,” Colbert said. “And, you know, it’s not like people get a check for Medicaid. All they get is health care.”

But more importantly, Colbert said that while Pathways will expand coverage, it doesn’t include everyone that needs it.

That’s because lots of people simply can’t work.

“Not only are people with serious mental illness and full-time caregivers going to be left out,” Colbert said, “but there will also be some groups that are disproportionately left behind by the program.”

Like those in rural areas where there aren’t good-paying jobs, or some minorities living in historically disinvested communities, she said.

See the article for the full details