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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.

2022

The Price of Georgia’s Low Vaccination Rate

  • by Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon
  • State Affairs
“That’s an entire small town that could have been prevented from going to a hospital… many of our counties don’t have 23,000 residents,” said Laura Colbert, the executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future, a public health advocacy group. Colbert said that not just the costs, but the fact that 23,000 people, which is likely an undercount, could have avoided hospitalization, is an “incredible” statistic. “Having that many people go to a hospital for a cause that is completely preventable, or almost completely preventable, prior to or during the Omicron wave,” Colbert said. “It’s a big missed opportunity. And we just could have done a lot better.”
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Governor pitches more spending for education, health care in election year budget

  • by Jill Nolin and Stanley Dunlap
  • Georgia Recorder

“My plan is to go ahead and put it in code so that when that state of emergency goes away, that coverage won’t go away,” Sen. Dean Burke, a Bainbridge Republican, said during a panel discussion this week sponsored by Georgians for a Healthy Future.

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Most get left behind with Georgia Medicaid: 270,000 don’t have insurance, expansions stall

  • by Abraham Kenmore
  • Augusta Chronicle

The program would start in 2022 and run through 2025. According to Whitney Griggs, health policy analyst for Georgians for a Healthy Future, the program would start by covering 94% of costs, and go up from there. Unlike other marketplace plans, those who qualified could enroll at any time.

Griggs said that about 270,000 Georgians make less than 100% of the federal poverty line, too little to qualify for subsidized plans through the healthcare marketplace. Another 184,000 make between 100% and 138% of the federal poverty line and can qualify for subsidized health care plans, but would likely move to the Medicaid work around for less expensive health care.

Griggs said the proposal is a good one, but a state-led expansion would be ideal.

“Medicaid is built to operate for low income individuals, which these folks qualify as, so you know, there’s wrap around services, there’s continuous eligibility, it’s easier to operate than enrolling in private insurance,” she said.

Warnock, according to his office, has supported both state-led expansion and the federal work around, and his staff declined to go into benefits or downsides on either approach. He has also opposed a proposal in the House Build Back Better Act to penalize states that refuse to expand by cutting federal funds for rural hospitals.

“We’re hopeful that the federal solution passes, that we’re able to get a robust enrollment, and show policy makers and leadership just how – the difference that this coverage makes for quality of life,” Griggs said. “I think the hope is once you give people coverage it’s harder to take it away.”

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What’s next for Georgia as Medicaid waiver requirements rejected?

  • by Andy Miller
  • Georgia Health News

That price tag would be much higher than for standard Medicaid expansion, which would cover more people, said Laura Colbert of the consumer advocacy group Georgians for a Healthy Future. Georgia is one of 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid under provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

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Feds reject work requirement in Kemp’s Medicaid overhaul

  • by Greg Bluestein
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Laura Colbert of Georgians for a Healthy Future, a healthcare advocacy group, said Kemp is now left with three options: appealing the decision and “callously” leaving thousands of Georgians with no pathway to insurance; move forward with the rest of the waiver plan; or fully expand Medicaid.

“We urge Governor Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly to take a clear-eyed look at these choices and examine the costs of our state’s on-going refusal to offer a hand-up to uninsured Georgians simply because they don’t have enough money in their wallets,” Colbert said.

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Georgia helps drive record enrollment in ACA health insurance

  • by Phil Galewitz and Andy Miller
  • Georgia Health News

“That’s the most we’ve ever had enrolled,’’ said Laura Colbert, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Georgians for a Healthy Future. She said the enrollment spike helps show that Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to scrap healthcare.gov and replace it with a privately run portal isn’t needed.

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On More Generous Terms, Obamacare Proves Newly Popular

  • by Margot Sanger-Katz
  • The New York Times

Laura Colbert, the executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future, a consumer advocacy group that also helps sign Georgians up for coverage, said the big enrollment boost this year came thanks to increased subsidies and advertising — but also a new state reinsurance program that helped lower premiums and attract more insurers into the state’s marketplace. She, too, worries about what will happen if the subsidies expire.

“If nothing else, consumers are price-sensitive, and an expiration of the enhanced subsidies will definitely lead to fewer enrollments,” she said. “When extra help is in place, people really appreciate it. But when it goes away, they are often more frustrated by it than they appreciated the help in the first place.”

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Enrolling for health insurance can be confusing. Experts say check for mental care coverage first

  • by Ellen Eldridge
  • Georgia Public Broadcasting

Laura Colbert, with Georgians for a Healthy Future, said one clue that parity is not working is how often behavioral health is not covered by Georgia insurance plans. She spoke about mental health parity earlier this year during a town hall meeting hosted by the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse.

“Georgia families are forced to navigate a really confusing insurance system in the middle of what might be a substance use crisis or a mental health crisis,” Colbert said. “You may be denied coverage for substance use services because the insurance company says they’re not ‘medically necessary.'”

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Medicaid workaround proposal would sidestep state Republican leaders

  • Johnson City Press

“It will do monumental things for people who get covered and can go to the doctor and get prescriptions filled and have some peace of mind that they can take care of their health and their family’s health if something happens while they have this coverage,” Laura Colbert, executive director of the patient advocacy group Georgians for a Healthy Future, said.

But even so, Colbert called the plan “a four-year coverage gap fix.”

“There is no certainty about who our elected officials will be in four years and whether there will be an appetite to extend this program,” she said.

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Majority of Georgians fear inability to pay for COVID treatment if infected, survey finds

  • by Jill Nolin
  • Georgia Recorder

“These gaps really make it so that Georgians can’t afford needed health care. If they receive health care, they’re left with medical debt, or they have to make really tough choices about their health versus other necessities,” Colbert said.

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