Category: Health Care

Georgia Public Policy Foundation CEO Kyle Wingfield testified about health care opportunities for Georgia before the House Rural Development Council at its December 4, 2018, meeting in Dahlonega. View his presentation, beginning at the 4:01:00 mark, here: https://livestream.com/accounts/25225474/events/7618751/videos/184370579. View the slides from his presentation here. http://www.house.ga.gov/Documents/CommitteeDocuments/2018/HRDC/Dahlonega/Wingfield_GPPF_RDC_Waivers.pdf. Read the Trump administration’s new report, “Reforming America’s Healthcare System Through Choice and Competition,” at https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/Reforming-Americas-Healthcare-System-Through-Choice-and-Competition.pdf. View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Georgia’s uninsured rate was 13.4 percent in 2017, the fourth-highest in the nation, according to the Census Bureau. People without health insurance who need ongoing medical care have few options. Their frequent decision to use the emergency room for non-emergencies is financially overwhelming for all involved and imposes a heavy burden on a health-care delivery system not intended for that purpose. Heightened awareness of this challenge led to the creation of the Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett 13 years ago. It grew out of an eye-opening experience for several Gwinnett County physicians who volunteered in 2003 at a free health fair in the parking lot of a low-income housing complex. Expecting to see mostly healthy… View Article
By Ronald E. Bachman The purpose of insurance is to purchase protection before the onset of a problem. You can’t buy hurricane insurance when a named storm is headed your way; an imminent claim from a known “pre-existing condition” precludes the purchase of coverage. Health insurance is different. Pre-existing conditions are prevalent. Some are born thus; many acquire chronic conditions and others deal with the normal disabilities of aging. By analyzing medical records and policy application information, health insurance companies determine whether individuals or groups seeking health coverage have a pre-existing sickness or illness. This is called “risk selection.” Insurers have the power to exclude anyone from purchasing needed health coverage. In the past, many abused this power, “cherry picking”… View Article

Medicaid Expansion, ‘Free’ Money That Costs a Lot

By Dave Emanuel “The federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs for Medicaid expansion through 2016. After that, it will drop to 90 percent by 2020.” How can you beat a deal like that? Apparently, policymakers in 33 states don’t think you can. They have expanded Medicaid coverage under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Affordable Care Act’s provisions for Medicaid expansion, virtually anyone with annual earnings at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level is eligible. What is left unsaid is that it is anybody’s guess what options are available to a Medicaid recipient whose income rises to 139 percent of the qualifying level. Consequently, the specter of losing coverage or having… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Four issues; four times as many experts. In a nutshell, that’s the 2018 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on September 7 in Atlanta. Hosted since 2010 by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, the daylong Forum is described as the “opening act” to Georgia’s legislative session and is modeled after the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s (bigger) Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature. This year’s theme is “Wisdom, Justice, Responsibility,” a play on the state motto: “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation.” Criminal justice reform was an integral part of the inaugural Forum in 2010, and it became the prelude to Georgia’s landmark reforms. The Foundation brought in the Texas experts who were the trailblazers; today, Georgia is a national leader among… View Article

New Rule Creates New Opportunities for Health Insurance

By Joey Costa A new rule from the U.S. Department of Labor will allow more small employers and self-employed individuals to join forces to create Association Health Plans, providing consumers more choice and even some control over their insurance. According to U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, the rule will help “level the playing field” for small businesses, allowing these associations to use economies of scale to lower the cost of insurance. Under the current Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations, small employers and individuals purchasing coverage have no bargaining power, leaving them with what the insurance companies offer. Consumers have no voice into what their plan covers, and ACA regulations prohibit pricing advantages to groups of consumers. The new rule… View Article

Release the Health-Care Market

By Kyle Wingfield The contract dispute between Piedmont Healthcare and Blue Cross and Blue Shield appears to be over: The two parties this past week confirmed a “handshake deal” at the urging of Gov. Nathan Deal. Georgians who seek care via both companies – not just in Atlanta, but from Columbus to Athens, Blairsville to Elberton – were caught in the middle when the contract expired April 1. They can breathe a bit easier now, but this is no way to run a health-care market. Deal, who was in Congress when Democrats passed Obamacare, surely reminded both companies the only beneficiaries of these fights are those pushing the next government-centric step of single-payer health care. And this wasn’t even the… View Article

Patients Deserve the Right to Shop

By Kelly McCutchen and Josh Archambault Georgia families face some of the biggest increases in health care premiums in the country this year. For many families, health care is rapidly becoming unaffordable – a necessity that is becoming a luxury. Candidates running for Governor and the Legislature would be wise to take note of other states’ successes in granting patients the right to shop for health care to lower health care costs. Data show that the primary reason premiums are going up is the escalating costs of treatments and procedures. Consumers’ deductibles and copays are going up, too. In other words, patients are paying more but getting less. At a time when the internet is making more and more information… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd With politics and the weather in unusual and untimely states of flux in 2017, the 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum was undoubtedly one of the most difficult to organize since the Georgia Public Policy Foundation established the event in 2010. Happily, the annual Forum produced some remarkable, practical solutions to policy challenges in Georgia. About 150 attendees attended the daylong session October 13 in Atlanta, learning from speakers about tax, health care and education reforms specific to Georgia. The morning keynote speaker, chief economist Jonathan Williams of the American Legislative Exchange Council, shared his optimism about the GOP framework proposed for federal tax reform, noting that it has been more than 30 years since President Reagan… View Article

Time is of the Essence in State Health Care Reform

By Kelly McCutchen With the failure of health care reform in Congress, Georgia faces decision time: Accept the status quo or lead a state-based effort to address the issue. The decision state leaders make — one that must be made quickly – will have long-lasting effects. On the negative side of the ledger, the gridlock in Washington leaves many challenges unaddressed. It’s not pretty. Nearly all of Georgia’s rural hospitals are struggling to stay in business. Medicaid recipients search in vain for doctors willing to take new patients.  Several hundred thousand low-income Georgians are unable to afford insurance. Hundreds of thousands of working-class Georgians are trapped on the federal exchange, facing skyrocketing premiums and shrinking options. On the positive side,… View Article

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