“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…
Legislative update: Week 11
The GHF team prides itself on delivering timely and accurate updates to you on health care happenings at the Capitol. We hope that you enjoy reading our weekly legislative updates and that they help you stay informed and connected. If you enjoy them, please consider supporting our work with a donation today. Thank you for your continued support!
In this week’s update:
- Changes to prior authorization bill
- Bills that still need final action
- Updates to Georgia’s FY22 budget
- Vaccine eligibility opens to all Georgians, ages 16+
- GHF’s got you covered this session!
2021 legislative session ends this week
Georgia’s 2021 legislative session is set to wrap up this week. The final two days of the session take place on today, March 29th and Wednesday, March 31st, also called “Sine Die”. Sine Die marks the 40th and final legislative day for the year and means “no future date set”.
Our next legislative update will include a summary of the more notable bills taken up this session. You can find a full list of health care related legislation at GHF’s legislative tracker.(more…)
Earlier this week, the Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee (RHSC), created by Governor Deal to address the needs of struggling rural hospitals and find solutions that address those needs, issued its final report. The recommendations in the report include:
- A four site “Hub & Spoke” pilot program
- Maintenance and protection of Certificate of Need laws
- Expanded scope of practice for non-physician providers, like physicians assistants and nurse practitioners
- More support for school-based health centers
The committee’s work shines a spotlight on the health care access challenges that rural Georgians face and puts forth constructive recommendations. While we support these recommendations whole-heartedly, we are also disappointed that the committee did not address the coverage gap and Medicaid expansion in its report.
Georgia Health News interviewed Georgians for a Healthy Future’s Executive Director on this issue (click here to read the full article), and in that article she pointed to the early success of states like Kentucky, which recently reported improvements and coverage rates and in health care access due to Medicaid expansion. She also encouraged policymakers to take a comprehensive approach that includes closing Georgia’s coverage gap to help get people into health insurance and provide a reimbursement stream for rural hospitals and better equipment as Hospital Bed Movers.
Back in December, Georgians for a Healthy Future, together with several consumer and community-focused organizations including the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Georgia Watch, and Families First, submitted a report and provided public comment to the committee making a detailed case for such an approach. You can read that full report here.
Rural hospitals provide the foundation for the economic vitality and population health of small communities throughout Georgia. Despite this essential role, the future of our rural hospitals-and the access to care they provide for rural Georgians-is in jeopardy. Eight rural hospitals have closed since 2001, four of them since the start of 2013.
While a comprehensive strategy is needed to address this problem, closing the coverage gap in Georgia would be an important first step to stabilizing our state’s rural hospitals and maintaining access to care for Georgians living in rural communities.
In a report we are submitting to the Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee this week, Georgians for a Healthy Future, Georgia Budget & Policy Institute, Georgia Watch, Families First, and twelve additional consumer and community-focused nonprofits recommend that the committee seriously weigh the option to tap the federal dollars on the table for Georgia to close its coverage gap. Closing the coverage gap by expanding Medicaid would not only mean access to health insurance for low-income Georgians living in rural communities but would also trigger an infusion of federal dollars into rural hospitals to help them keep their doors open and serve their communities.
The Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee, created by Governor Deal earlier this year to identify the needs of the rural hospital community and provide potential solutions; to increase the flow of communication between hospitals and the state; and improve access to care, is holding its third meeting tomorrow in Lavonia. If someone from your part of the state is serving on the committee, please consider asking them to support closing Georgia’s coverage gap.
Please also ask your State Representative and State Senator to support closing the coverage gap in Georgia. Click here to send your state legislators a postcard that lets them know that you support closing Georgia’s coverage gap.
The full report to the committee is available here. Key facts from the report include:
- In 2012, Georgia hospitals provided more than $1.6 billion in unpaid care, an increase of about $60 million from 2011. Most of this unpaid care goes to provide services to uninsured Georgians, many of whom fall in the coverage gap
- Hospitals in states that have closed the coverage gap are projected to save up to $4.2 billion.Hospitals in states that have opted not to address their coverage gaps are projected to save a comparatively small $1.5 billion this year
- Georgia’s hospitals could receive $1 billion more in Medicaid spending every year on behalf of newly-eligible Medicaid enrollees (those currently in the coverage gap)
- If Georgia contributes the estimated $2.1 billion to implement Medicaid expansion, the State stands to gain a Federal infusion of $31 billion over the next ten years. This new federal money would help create more than 56,000 jobs statewide and generate more than $6.5 billion in new economic activity every year with the help of http://paydayloan-consolidation.com/.