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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.

2023

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.

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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.”

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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.

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State’s ‘Pathways’ Medicaid program set to begin July 1 amid continued controversy

  • by Tammy Joyner
  • State Affairs

Colbert, of Georgians for a Healthy Future, said Georgia’s current Medicaid system shuts many people who need health care coverage out of the system.

“Georgia has a very stringent Medicaid program,” Colbert noted. “ Our program is one of the least generous programs in the country. The governor has put forth this program for those folks who fall in a coverage gap because Georgia has not expanded Medicaid. For those folks who fall in that gap, this program is going to be very difficult to get in and stay enrolled in.”

Colbert said those folks who fall through the gap generally are Georgians between the ages of 18 and 40; people in rural areas and other places where higher-paying jobs are scarce; workers in low-paying fields such as food service, grocery, retail and childcare; people with mental health and substance abuse conditions; and people of color. Blacks and Latino account for half of the people in Georgia’s Medicaid coverage gap, said Colbert.

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Georgia to reinstate eligibility verifications for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids members

  • by Jamarlo Phillips and Rachel Aragon

“They haven’t done any checks since March of 2020 so everyone has been able to keep their coverage for that entire period without having to renew,” said Laura Colbert, Executive Director of Georgians for a Healthy Future.

“Now that we know redetermination will begin April 1, 2023, it’s more important than ever for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids members to make sure their contact information is up to date so we can reach them with critical, timely information, said DHS Commissioner Candice Broce. We want to make sure that eligible Medicaid members do not risk losing their family’s coverage.”

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