While describing how Georgia’s economy has escaped its “deep freeze,” Gov. Nathan Deal again showed no signs of thawing on the idea of expanding Medicaid. Expansion of Medicaid as called for under the Affordable Care Act would cost the state too much, Deal said. A legislative panel Thursday offered a different perspective.
More than 58,000 Georgians signed up for health coverage in the insurance exchange by Dec. 28, a nearly tenfold jump from the enrollment figure a month before, according to a federal report released Monday. The increase reflected a more functional federal website for people to navigate, and came ahead of the deadline of late December to sign up for insurance to begin Jan. 1.
A safe prediction for the upcoming session of the Georgia General Assembly is that dozens of bills involving health care will be up for consideration. That’s the case every year under the Gold Dome. But given the likelihood this year of a short session, ending in mid-March, it’s also a good bet that many health bills will be sidetracked or stalled before they come to a vote. Here’s a roundup of some of the important legislative issues in health care.
After two years of receiving a bonus, Georgia is not included in the latest round of federal performance awards for enrolling eligible children in government health insurance programs. A state qualifies for a federal bonus by implementing procedures to simplify enrollment and renewal to ensure that all eligible children have easier access to coverage under Medicaid and CHIP, which in Georgia is known as PeachCare.
Georgia’s physician shortage continues to limit patients’ access to care, especially in rural areas, a recently released report indicates. But the report by the Georgia Board for Physician Workforce also highlights some promising trends on doctors practicing in Georgia.
Stratus Healthcare billed itself as the largest hospital alliance in the Southeast when it was formed this summer. Since then, health industry officials have wondered: What is this new collection of independent hospitals all about? If nothing else, Stratus is growing. The number of its hospitals has risen in a few months from 23 to 29.
Georgia health care had more than its share of drama and surprises in 2013. Some of the big stories were linked to the Affordable Care Act. This far-reaching federal law, passed in early 2010, was still generating changes and attracting controversy as if it were brand new. But the ACA wasn’t the only hot topic in Georgia health. Issues ranged from drug scares to complex policy disputes and funding battles.
Jonathan Gruber views health care reform from a unique vantage point. Gruber, an MIT economics professor, was a principal architect of the Massachusetts reform law. And he was a key adviser to the Obama administration in its crafting of the Affordable Care Act.
In the past several school years, at least 15 students and 12 adults have died in schools from probable sudden cardiac arrest, according to Project S.A.V.E., an outreach and prevention program of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. But another 42 people have been saved: 18 students and 24 adults are alive today because school personnel were prepared and ready to take action when their cardiac function ceased.
A report released Tuesday ranks Georgia at the bottom of states on protecting against infectious disease threats. But Georgia public health officials, responding to the report, said Tuesday that some of the indicators are misleading or erroneous. And they said the authors of the report did not contact the state Department of Public Health to verify their findings.