1. Home
  2. >
  3. Gold Dome
  4. >
  5. Page 5

Tag: Gold Dome

Join us for a preview

It is a time of uncertainty for health care. Congressional leaders have already begun the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act, landmark legislation that established a framework for coverage that has resulted in the lowest uninsured rate ever recorded, rights and protections for health care consumers, and provisions to advance health equity. With the 2017 Georgia legislative session underway, state leaders have acknowledged that something must be done about Georgia’s high number of uninsured, the state’s struggling rural health care system, and the impending funding cuts to hospitals. With so much uncertainty and change, it may be hard to keep track of what’s going on in health policy.

Join us for a webinar to learn about and discuss expected and proposed changes at the both the state and national levels. We will provide you with the most recent information about “repeal & replace” efforts and #ProtectOurCare advocacy, and how that will impact Georgia. We will also preview health care in Georgia’s 2017 state legislative session and tell you how you can get involved in the health care issues that you care about through advocacy and public engagement. Join us for a look ahead at health care policy in 2017. Register here to join us!

 


Tags:

The 2017 Legislative Session is underway!

Georgians for a Healthy Future will be at the Capitol throughout the forty-day session to monitor health-related legislation, serve as a voice for health care consumers, and keep you informed about opportunities to engage and take action. For the past four years, our top legislative priority had been closing Georgia’s coverage gap by expanding Medicaid. In the wake of the 2016 election, the national policy landscape has shifted considerably, knocking that off the table this year and placing existing coverage, care, and consumer protections at risk. Despite this backdrop of uncertainty and a critical need for federal advocacy, there will be important decisions made over the next three months at the state level that impact the health of individuals, families, and communities.

 

While it is early, here are the major health care issues we preliminarily expect legislators to tackle in 2017:

  • Renewal of the provider fee commonly known as the “hospital tax” or “bed tax” to help fund Medicaid and keep hospital doors open
  • Development of a set of reforms to improve mental health services based on the recommendations of a legislative study committee that has been meeting over the past several months
  • Creation of a “repeal” task force to assess the impact of changes to or repeal of the Affordable Care Act on Georgia
  • Addressing the practice of surprise medical billing, which can leave insured consumers with unexpected bills when a health care provider is out-of-network
  • Increasing reimbursement rates for certain primary care services for health care providers participating in Medicaid
  • Improving access to dental care for children, seniors, and people with disabilities

 

Georgians for a Healthy Future has several ways for you to stay up-to-date on what’s happening under the Gold Dome this year:

 

Stay tuned for updates throughout the session.

 


Tags:

Senate Opioid Abuse study committee considers recommendations for omnibus bill

The Senate Opioid Abuse study committee has begun to flesh out key issues and considerations to draft recommendations for an omnibus bill that includes prevention, treatment, regulatory and enforcement and budgetary provisions to address Georgia’s opioid crisis GHF is encouraged by the committee’s focus on prevention as we have been raising awareness of the need to view substance use disorders as a public health issue that warrants prevention through our Somebody Finally Asked Me campaign. More specifically, we have been advocating for wider use of screening tools such as Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for youth.

While the committee did not discuss SBIRT, over the past two meetings, the committee heard from hospital systems, pharmacists, the Georgia Division of Family & Child Services (DFCS) and substance abuse research experts on other steps the state could take.

Proposals included:

  • Increasing funding and wider promotion of substance abuse education with a focus on opioid use in schools and restoring some public health funds.
  • Improving provider education and training around prescribing, especially for pregnant women, and educating patients on prescription drug use and how to take saliva drug test before that.
  • Increasing access to drug treatment programs for pregnant women, allowing the sale of narcan over the counter, and adding buprenorphine to the Medicaid formulary, this could lead to addiction because of all the drugs and there are some great reviews for Quick Fix 6.2, but it could easily be taken care of with the help of an intervention, click here if you don´t know what is an intervention.
  • Promising protocols and programs that hospitals and emergency departments could implement to improve care delivery for chronic pain management, although if these pains are in a specific area like a headache, is better to visit some headache specialists, also children with neonatal abstinence syndrome and their mothers.
  • Current initiatives and ways to improve state and agency-level policies to improve response systems for law enforcement and child welfare services.

Presentations from Northside Hospital, Augusta University, DFCS, Tanner Health System, and the Georgia Substance Abuse Research Alliance are available upon request. The committee plans to dive deeper into analysis of law enforcement policies, therapeutic services and recommendations for budget appropriations during the upcoming meetings and a website for finding rehab facilities near me. GHF will continue to advocate for the committee to consider additional prevention methods in its recommendations. We have requested to present recommendations to activate Medicaid codes to promote the use of a substance use screening tool called SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to treatment) at the next committee meeting and are awaiting a response. The next committee meeting is scheduled for November 9, 2016 at 1:00 PM at the Capitol. Stay tuned for more updates and information!


Tags:

Study committees are right around the corner!

policy-prioritiesSome of the most pressing and contentious health and insurance issues facing San Diego help will be front and center during anticipated legislative study committee meetings this fall. Study committees meet during the off-session to take a closer look into specific policy issues and develop recommendations for the upcoming legislative session. Check out a full listing of House and Senate study committees. Below is a summary of the committees GHF will be actively engaged on the advocacy and policy fronts:

Senate Study Committee on Surprise Billing Practices (SR 974)

This study committee is charged with assessing laws to protect consumers against surprise billing. Surprise billing can occur when an insured consumer receives care from an out-of-network provider and is charged for the amount the insurance did not pay. In some cases consumers seek care knowing the risk. In other cases consumers end up with bills despite making appropriate efforts to stay in-network or because inadequate provider networks require them to go out-of-network to receive care they need. Surprise billing was a hot button issue during the 2016 legislative session as more consumers reported receiving a surprise bill and experiencing financial repercussions. This led to the introduction of legislation (SB 382). This legislation included a wide range of provisions for consumer notifications, network adequacy standards, independent dispute resolutions and regulatory oversight. Although SB 382 did not pass it served as a starting point for discussion and preparation for this study committee. GHF has identified surprise billing and the need for legislation that holds consumers harmless in surprise billing scenarios as a policy priority. GHF, in partnership with Georgia Watch, has been actively engaged on this issue and will present recommendation to the committee. If you are interested in providing testimony or input to this committee, please contact Senator Renee Unterman, the study committee chair. The meeting schedule has not been announced but stay tuned for updates.

Senate Study Committee on Premium Assistance (SR 1056)

This committee will closely examine models and policies for premium assistance programs as an alternative to Medicaid expansion and is anticipated to be a forum for a robust discussion about policy options to close the coverage gap. Because Georgia has not yet accepted federal funds to cover low-income Georgians through Medicaid or a Medicaid waiver, approximately 300,000 Georgians remain stuck in a coverage gap. These Georgians do not qualify for Medicaid under current rules and do not earn enough money to qualify for financial help through the Marketplace. Closing the coverage gap by opening up coverage through Medicaid to all Georgians with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level is a policy priority GHF champions.  During the last legislative session SB 368 was introduced and policymakers took a first step toward conversation on ways to close the coverage gap. Although SB 368 did not pass, it sparked a process that led to the upcoming study committee. GHF will present recommendations to the committee and amplify our campaign to close the coverage through our Cover Georgia Coalition. Cover Georgia is a coalition of more than 70 organizations that have come together to educate the public, engage Georgia’s policymakers, and advocate to close the coverage gap by expanding Medicaid. To learn more about Cover Georgia click here and to join please contact Laura Colbert at lcolbert@healthyfuturega.org or 404-567-5016 ext. 2.  Study committee appointments and meeting schedule have not been announced. If you are interested in providing testimony or input to this committee stay tuned for updates.

Senate Study Committee on Opioid Abuse (SR 1165)

In light of the rise of opioid addiction and related overdose deaths, this study committee was created to examine legislative approaches Georgia could take to curb the opioid epidemic and save lives. Committee members have been appointed and include the commissioner of public health, Director of Georgia Drugs and Narcotics agency, a pharmacist, medical doctor and citizen with personal experience with opioid overdose claim that the cases of prescription drug abuse amongst teens are rising. The first committee meeting is scheduled for September 30th in Gainesville and the second meeting will be held October 27th at the Capitol. Save the dates and we will provide more information soon. GHF in partnership with the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse will present recommendations on activating Medicaid codes to promote the use of an evidence-based substance use screening and prevention tool known as SBIRT (screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment) statewide and a fiscal analysis of the costs and benefits of implementing SBIRT through Medicaid to the committee. To find out more about SBIRT and our Preventing Youth Substance Use Disorders coalition visit our website. If you are interested in providing testimony or input to this committee please contact Senator Renee Unterman, the study committee chair.

Other Study Committees to Watch

  • Senate Study Committee on Hearing Aids for Children (SR 1091)
  • Senate Study Committee on Emergency Cardiac Centers (SR 1154)
  • Senate Study Committee on State Sponsored Self-Insured Group Health Insurance Plan (SR 1166)
  • House Study Committee on Mental Illness Initiative (HR 1093)
  • House Study Committee on Professional Employer Organizations (HR 1341)

Tags:

Important Movement Towards Closing the Coverage Gap

Moving the conversation forward 

Yesterday marked the start of a new chapter in the campaign to close the coverage gap. The Georgia Chamber of Commerce Health Access Task Force unveiled a set of proposals best beard trimmer to expand coverage. We are heartened that business leaders and health care industry stakeholders recognize the important role that coverage plays in a healthy and productive Georgia. You can read the news coverage in the AJCWABEGeorgia Health News, and Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Is it a good plan?

We believe a coverage solution is one that extends coverage to all those Georgians caught in the coverage gap, does not erect unnecessary barriers to care, and maximizes the federal dollars set aside for Georgia. The Chamber’s proposal is a big step in this direction. While we have concerns about how some of the proposed provisions will impact consumers, we look forward to working with the Chamber, legislators, our Cover Georgia partners, and other stakeholders to find a solution that best serves individuals and families, our state’s health system, and our state’s economy.

What can I do to build on the momentum?

Be a part of the conversation! Your legislators need to know that this is an important issue for their constituents. Here you’ll find a quick and easy way to enter in your address and directly email both your state house and senate member. Let them know it’s time we close the coverage gap!


At Georgians for a Healthy Future, we’ve been fighting for expanded access to care since our doors first opened. We’ve developed videos and graphics to help simplify this complicated issue. We’ve created in-depth tools to explain the nuance and dispel myths. Our postcard and petition project has helped lift up this issue at the Gold Dome where we regularly testify and provide research to lawmakers.

As we get closer to closing the coverage gap we hope you’ll continue to stand with us. By signing up for the Georgia Health Action Network you’ll receive timely updates as the debate unfolds and easy ways for you to stay engaged. And, of course, we’re here for you! If you have questions about what’s going on, please ask!


Tags:

Policy and advocacy opportunities to get Georgia covered

policy-prioritiesTremendous progress has been made over the past three years in increasing enrollment into health insurance that facilitates access to care and provides financial protection for individuals and families across the state of Georgia. However, too many Georgians are still uninsured, the trends toward narrow networks and consolidation within the health industry threaten to negatively impact access to care, and consumers express concerns about affordability. Addressing these issues will require collaboration between enrollment and health care stakeholders, advocates, and policymakers. Here are three things Georgia lawmakers can do to ensure that all Georgians have access to the quality of care they need.

  1. Close the coverage gap – Despite robust Marketplace enrollment in Georgia, we still have one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, largely because our state policymakers have not yet closed the coverage gap. Georgia’s enrollment assisters have repeatedly expressed to advocates that this is the biggest barrier to enrollment that their consumers face.
  2. Addressing Affordability – Rate review is an annual process during which insurance companies submit their proposed plan rates for the coming year to be reviewed by state and federal regulators. We encourage state regulators to scrutinize these rates closely to ensure they are justified and to request adjustments if they are not. We also encourage policymakers to explore emerging approaches in health care payment and delivery reform that hold the potential to enhance value for consumers.
  3. Ensuring Access to Care – We encourage policymakers to build on the progress made by SB 302 by enacting comprehensive network adequacy standards in 2017.

For more details on policy and advocacy opportunities and our findings from research around the third open enrollment period, download our new report, Getting Georgia Covered: What We Can Learn from Consumer and Assister Experiences During the Third Open Enrollment Period.


Tags:

Postcards for Coverage

Who doesn’t love to get mail? A hand-written note from a friend? An invitation to a wedding or surprise birthday party? A post-card from a family member enjoying their vacation in an exotic locale? Getting personal mail is not something that happens much this day and age, but still holds a lot of meaning to most people. If someone took the time to write you a letter to ask you to do something, wouldn’t that get your attention more than email? Now imagine that you got multiple letters asking you to do something from your friends, family members, and neighbors. That’s exactly what happened for a majority of Georgia’s state Senate and House members.

Postcards3 Rep Erika Thomas Whitney4 WhitneyAnna

In July, Georgians for a Healthy Future mailed out stacks of post-cards to Georgia’s state legislators. These were not any post-cards. These were the postcards that GHF, with the help of the Cover Georgia Coalition, had been collecting over the past few years asking legislators to close the coverage gap. These postcards were signed by Georgians all across the state and were collected through outreach events, online petitions, and even Facebook ads. We collected more than 1100 postcards and sent them to legislators in every corner of the state. Many postcards included handwritten notes to their legislator asking them to close the coverage gap to help themselves, their family members, and fellow Georgians.

Rep Carolyn Hugley1 Rep Margaret Kaiser Rep Pat Gardner3 Rep Stacey Abrams1

It’s not often that constituents are able to feel like they can directly communicate with their elected officials and this postcard project was intended to help give everyday people a voice for a topic that was important to them. More than 300,000 Georgians fall into the coverage gap and are unable to get affordable health insurance. Often these Georgians go without coverage and regular medical care. Many Georgians want to fix this issue and took the time to let their legislators know that they support closing the coverage gap.  These postcards will have an impact as state legislators hear from their constituents that they want all Georgians have access to quality, affordable health insurance.

We will continue collecting postcards and sending them to legislators as we get them. If you haven’t signed a postcard yet, you can still do so by signing our online petition.


Tags:

Meet our 2016 Powerhouse Policymaker Awardees!

2016 POWERHOUSE POLICYMAKER AWARDEES

Representative Stacey Abrams
Senator P.K. Martin

Please join us on September 28th as we recognize our 2016 Powerhouse Policymakers.


Representative Stacey Abrams, House Minority Leader

Abrams 2014 Head Shot CroppedAs House Minority Leader, Stacey Abrams leads her caucus in its efforts to enact legislation across a range of complex public policy issues. Despite a full plate, Leader Abrams always makes time for health care. Whether it is raising awareness with constituents about new health insurance opportunities available to them or tirelessly championing the need to close Georgia’s coverage gap by expanding Medicaid, leader Abrams has proven over and over again her determination to ensure every Georgian has a pathway to health coverage. For this steadfast commitment, we are honored to recognize her as a 2016 Powerhouse Policymaker.


Senator P.K. Martin, Senate Insurance Committee

PK Martin HeadshotAlthough only in his second legislative session, Sen. Martin is not one to back down from a challenge and isn’t afraid to take on complicated issues. Improving provider directory accuracy was one such topic. SB 302 is a groundbreaking piece of legislation that sets basic standards for directories and protections for consumers who rely on them. The bill has been recognized nationally as an important example of consumer protections. Sen. Martin has shown that he is someone who will fight for what he believes in and we are proud to recognize him as a 2016 Powerhouse Policymaker.

 

 

We hope you’ll join us on September 28th as we recognize Sen. Martin and Rep. Abrams! RSVP Here.


Tags:

Momentum Towards Closing Georgia’s Coverage Gap

It’s been an exciting few weeks for Close the Gap advocates. We are pleased to see that several of Georgia’s leaders  have expressed to the press that they are willing to take a second look at closing Georgia’s coverage gap. By closing the gap, they would help not only hard-working Georgians but also struggling rural hospitals and the communities that rely on them. We hope to work with our state leaders in the coming months to build further support and to find a solution that works for all Georgians. Below you’ll find links to articles covering the conversation happening at the Gold Dome.

Op-Ed: The irrefutable logic of Medicaid expansion for Ga.
AJC | June 22

Louisiana’s expanding Medicaid, and Georgia should too
Flagpole | June 22

Task force aims to reshape Georgia stance on health coverage
Georgia Health News | June 21

Will Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion provide a model for other states?
Georgia Health News | June 20

Why A Ga. GOP chair wants to ‘re-examine’ Medicaid expansion
WABE | June 15

Medicaid expansion remains divisive for Georgia Republicans
Associated Press | June 11


HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED

Tracy-Screenshot-1Email your legislator and tell them you support closing the coverage gap!

Did you know that you can find and email your legislators right from the GHF website? Just enter your address and we’ll find your state representative and senator! Send them a brief email telling them that the time has come for our legislature to come together to close Georgia’s coverage gap! Send your email here.

 

 

Medicaid_Georgia_Static-Infographic_1-28-16_2nd-Panel_For-WebNeed more resources on the coverage gap?

These resources will help you understand what the coverage gap is and what it means for you and the state.

Medicaid Chart Book

Georgia Left Me Out

 

 

CoverGA_logo_BlueBackground-300x240Does your organization support closing the coverage gap?

Your organization can show its support by joining the Cover Georgia coalition. Email our Director of Outreach & Partnerships Laura Colbert for more information.


Tags:

Governor Deal signs bipartisan provider directory legislation

IMG_8559

This morning, Governor Deal signed SB 302 into law! GHF strongly supported this bipartisan bill to improve the accuracy and usability of provider directories throughout the 2016 Legislative Session. Provider directories play a critical role in informing patients and consumers about which doctors are in their plan, yet they are notoriously error-ridden. SB 302 is an important step towards making provider directories the accurate and functional tool that consumers need to make the best health care decisions for themselves and their families.

Thank you to all who followed this issue throughout the Legislative Session and helped bring it across the finish line by contacting your legislators at each stage of the process!

Georgia’s proactive move is being noticed by national health policy organizations. Families USA’s Private Insurance Director Claire McAndrew’s blog post, How States Are Improving Consumers’ Access to In-Network Health Care Providers, prominently features the bill and GHF’s role in its passage. Another national organization, Community Catalyst, featured GHF’s Executive Director Cindy Zeldin as a guest blogger on the topic. This post, Protecting Health Care Consumers in the Peach State, provides an in-depth look at the policy process and next steps. Here in Georgia, the bill’s progress was covered by Georgia Health News back in March.

During this process, we created a series of resources to educate advocates, stakeholders, and policymakers.

Issue Brief: Improving Provider Directory Accuracy and Usability

Fact Sheet: Network Error, Secret shopper survey finds more than 1 in 5 health care providers inaccurately listed as “in-network”

Fact sheet: What’s Wrong with Georgia’s Provider Directories?

Video: Julie Silas on Why Provider Directory Accuracy is Important

Video: How Georgia Can Ensure Network Adequacy


Tags:

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive updates from GHF!
Join

GHF In The News

Nov 16, 2021
Medicaid workaround proposal would sidestep state Republican leaders

“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…

Archive

Peach Pulse Archive