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National Medicaid Expansion Is a Bargain for Georgia

By Tim Sweeney


Over at the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute, we’ve recently released a brief that shows why expanding Medicaid to cover hundreds of thousands of low-income, uninsured Georgians is a bargain for the state. (Read the brief here.)


Instead of focusing on the small portion of the expansions costs that will be borne by the state (about 10 percent for newly eligible people), Georgia leaders should focus on the substantial social and economic benefits that the expansion and additional federal money would bring to Georgia.


Low-income Georgians already have far less access to employer-sponsored health insurance than higher income Georgians, and are seeing their limited access decline even more. Georgia had the 10th highest uninsured rate in the nation, on average, from 2006-2008, and because Medicaid eligibility thresholds here are pretty low, the state would benefit greatly from the national expansion.


Tim Sweeney

Sr. Healthcare Analyst

Georgia Budget & Policy Institute


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Barriers to Care at Grady: The Big Picture

By Benjamin Nanes, HealthSTAT


HealthSTAT previously reported concerns from students and health professionals that it is becoming more difficult for immigrants to access care in the Grady Health System, which includes Grady Memorial Hospital and its eight neighborhood health centers. Though this issue has not been widely reported, there have been similar worries in the community at large as well. Yolanda Hallas, Executive Director of the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia, has collected reports from immigrants who have been denied discounted care at Grady due to apparent changes in how the health system enforces its policies. Among them are unemployed patients and family members of Medicaid-eligible children, people who clearly cannot afford health care anywhere else. In order to understand what is happening, it is important to look at the big picture: how the Grady system delivers care to those who are unable to pay, and the financial and political pressures that system faces.


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Hospital Accountability

Guest Blog By Holly Lang

In January 2009, Georgia Watch was awarded a two-year grant to help expand access to affordable health care to uninsured and underinsured consumers in the metro area. Called the Metropolitan Atlanta Hospital Accountability Project, or HAP, we’ll examine the challenges low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients face in the metro Atlanta area by surveying consumers, by analyzing the financial aid policies at area for profit and nonprofit hospitals, and by looking at current public policies that force hospitals to give free or low-cost care to the state’s uninsured and underinsured consumers. We’ll come up with ways to make those policies better.

 

Georgia has the sixth-highest number of residents without health insurance in the US and ranks 11th in its percentage of the population lacking coverage, according to a 2008 report from the Georgia State University’s Health Policy Center and the Center for Health Services Research. According to the report, only one in five individuals living below poverty have private insurance and nearly 38 percent are uninsured.

 

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Health Care Should be Available, Affordable, Adequate, and Administratively Simple

Guest Blog By Brittany Freeman

The American Cancer Society is proud to congratulate Georgians for a Healthy Future on its recent launch. We are honored to share in the work of this organization that is dedicated to developing solutions and strategies that address Georgians’ need for accessible, adequate, affordable quality health care.

 

The American Cancer Society has been a strong advocate for cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and others since its inception. Both on the legislative front and in every community, the American Cancer Society is dedicated to expanding access to care to more individuals. Like Georgians for a Healthy Future, we believe that health care should be available, affordable, adequate and administratively simple – we refer to these as our “4 A’s”. Health care that meets these four standards, promotes prevention and focuses on quality of life will support our work to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.

 

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