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.

2021

Georgia’s slow COVID vaccine rollout exposes broad public health shortfall

  • by Ross Williams
  • Georgia Recorder

More money could be a big help for problems Georgia has struggled with since before the pandemic, including high maternal mortality and prevalence of substance abuse and HIV infection, said Laura Colbert, executive director of the nonprofit Georgians for a Healthy Future, but the state will receive money from the federal government to fight COVID-19. The agency received more than $1 billion in COVID-19 relief as of Jan. 15, and more is likely to come.

“It is disappointing to see a flat public health budget, but I (balance) that with they are receiving additional dollars from Congress,” Colbert said. “The COVID-19 relief funds are going to be targeted specifically to COVID-19 relief, but state funds are needed to keep up activities on all of these other fronts, like substance use and maternal mortality and HIV.”

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Providers Sue Trump Administration Over Approval Of Georgia Plans To Nix Healthcare.gov

  • by Sam Whitehead
  • WABE

“If this lawsuit is successful, it will prevent Georgia consumers from becoming unnecessarily uninsured or underinsured,” said Laura Colbert with Georgians For A Healthy Future, a consumer advocacy group.

“This is especially important in the context of COVID-19, as many people lose their jobs and their health insurance and turn to the safety net of the [Affordable Care Act] marketplace,” she continued.

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Advocates hope lawmakers step-up to fill mental health need amplified by pandemic

  • by Riley Bunch
  • Union Recorder

“Georgia needs to think about how we build and fund a mental health and substance use system that matches the needs of our population,” Laura Colbert, executive director of nonprofit Georgians for a Healthy Future, told CNHI. “To date, we haven’t really done that.”

According to a 2020 report by nonprofit Mental Health America, Georgia ranks last out of all states for access to care for mentally ill residents — which includes access to insurance coverage and treatment. Providers have only been further strained since the pandemic upended health systems.

“Across ages, geographies and racial groups, there’s been a really big spike in depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug use, and other kinds of mental health conditions,” Colbert said of increased prevalence during the pandemic. “… There’s just this incredibly expanded need on top of kind of the constant need that we had before the pandemic. Because the need has expanded, we just need so many more resources to help handle it. There’s a pandemic surge and there’s also a mental health and substance use surge happening at the same time.”

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Annual Legislative Suppers, Breakfasts Go Digital As The Legislative Session Gets Underway

  • by Stanley Dunlap
  • GPB

Another event that’s moved online is the signature event for Georgians for a Healthy Future, Health Care Unscrambled, where experts, advocates and policymakers get together to talk about public health policy, which often includes a case for the state to expand Medicaid.

The event wraps up on Thursday with a panel discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on racial and mental health disparities.

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Health insurance exchange numbers up in Georgia; pandemic is major cause

  • by Andy Miller
  • Albany Herald

“Georgians had more insurers to choose from this year, the cost of health plans rose by less than inflation, and the ACA’s financial help lowered costs for most Georgians,’’ Laura Colbert of the consumer group Georgians for a Healthy Future, said. “These factors likely made marketplace coverage more attractive to Georgia consumers, so they enrolled in higher numbers.”

Colbert criticized Gov. Brian Kemp, who pushed for the Georgia waiver, and his plan for new type of exchange.

“The continuing growth and resilience of Georgia’s marketplace tells a much different story than Gov. Kemp has led people to believe as he seeks to separate Georgia from healthcare.gov,’’ she said. “It is clear that Georgia consumers appreciate the marketplace and would be harmed by its elimination.”

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State wants health insurers to stop clogging hospital space

  • by Johnny Edwards
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In a non-emergency such as a discharge to post-acute care, it hasn’t been established how hospitals must disclose any out-of-network costs to patients ahead of time, said Laura Colbert, executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future.

She fears some patients won’t be fully protected with the insurance commissioner’s directive if they’re moved out of network.

“Is it just a piece of paper in a full stack of papers that you sign when you’re filling out all the intake forms?” she said. “Or is it what we would like to see, you only see this paper as a standalone piece if you are being referred out of network at that time, and with a very clear cost estimate that is line by line?”

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Georgia Reports Much Less Medicaid Data To The Feds Than It Used To

  • by Rebecca Grapevine
  • GPB

“If there are quality metrics that aren’t being met and we as the public can look and see where Georgia is falling short, we can hold our state decision-makers accountable,” said Laura Colbert, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Georgians for a Healthy Future.

“The greater the state reports, the better,” she said.

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Georgia reports much less Medicaid data to the feds than it used to

  • by Rebecca Grapevine
  • Georgia Health News

“If there are quality metrics that aren’t being met and we as the public can look and see where Georgia is falling short, we can hold our state decision-makers accountable,” said Laura Colbert, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Georgians for a Healthy Future.

“The greater the state reports, the better,” she said.

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Georgia medical board rarely disciplines doctors, audit confirms

  • by Johnny Edwards & Ariel Hart
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“In a state like Georgia, where our health care system is really insufficient and not meeting the needs of the population already, this just further breaks down what should be a very close relationship between individuals and communities and their health care system,” said Laura Colbert, executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future.

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Opinion: Medicaid expansion would still benefit Ga.

  • by Jack Bernard
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Georgia’s leaders continue to ignore the most cost-effective, evidence-based, equitable, and practical steps to addressing our health care problems.”

Laura Colbert, executive director, Georgians for a Healthy Future.

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