NEWS & MEDIA
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.
Georgians for a Healthy Future has found that transportation is a barrier to health care for a large portion of Georgia’s population and 117 out of Georgia’s 159 counties are considered health transportation shortage areas.
Laura Colbert, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Georgians for a Healthy Future, said the lawsuit brought by the governor and state attorney general is a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. “Federal courts have repeatedly struck down work requirements for Medicaid-eligible adults because work requirements ultimately act as a barrier to health coverage and care,” she said.
On Friday, officials with Georgians for a Healthy Future, an organization that advocates for expanding Medicaid, said that’s what Kemp should do now.
“At this point, the governor and the attorney general are wasting taxpayer dollars and time that could be spent enrolling and covering people who are currently uninsured,” said Laura Colbert, GHF’s director.
“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.”
“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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.