Category: Health Care

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
By Benita M. Dodd Education and health care are two of Georgia’s biggest challenges. Effective – and cost-effective – solutions have been state goals since long before the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established in 1991. Through events and publications such as the Guide to the Issues, the Foundation has offered Georgia-specific, limited-government, market-oriented policy solutions and alternatives. In 2010, the Foundation followed in the steps of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, then in the eighth year of its annual Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature, and the Georgia Legislative Policy Forum was born. At the first daylong conference, state and national experts shared the “best ideas for Georgia in crime, education, transportation, health care and tax and budget… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen In rural Georgia and across the country, the uncertain future and closure of emergency rooms and hospitals are all too common. A primary factor is the long-term impact of a federal law that requires hospital emergency departments to treat and stabilize all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. This law, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), made the nation’s ERs the default health care provider for the uninsured. The federal government doesn’t cover the full cost of providing this care, however, making EMTALA a massive unfunded federal mandate. Imagine addressing other social problems like this: Eliminate hunger by requiring all restaurants to serve hungry people regardless of their ability to pay the bill. Combat… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen With the failure of the federal government to address this nation’s health care crisis, the job now falls to the states. Fortunately for the states, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides them broad authority to restructure federal funding and regulations through the underutilized State Innovation Waiver. Georgia is well-positioned to seize this opportunity and serve as a model to show the rest of the nation the way forward on health care reform. “Crisis” is an overused word, but it describes the situation for many Georgia families. Premiums for policies on the Georgia ACA exchange have more than doubled over the past four years, and they could increase by up to 40 percent next year. In exchange for… View Article
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday edition of August 6, 2017, published an op-ed by Georgia Public Policy Foundation President Kelly McCutchen on state-based solutions to health care. The op-ed is reprinted in full below; access it online on the newspaper’s website here. Opinion: Ga. should seek flexibility waiver to help meet care needs By Kelly McCutchen The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday edition of August 6, 2017, published an op-ed by Georgia Public Policy Foundation President Kelly McCutchen on state-based solution to health care. The op-ed is reprinted in full below; access it online on the newspaper’s website here. With the failure of the federal government to address this nation’s health care crisis, the job now falls to the states. Fortunately… View Article

Kicking the Deadly Opioid Abuse Habit

By Megan May Drug overdoses, mainly opioid-affiliated, have surged in the United States in recent years. According to recent health data, deaths from drug overdose will soon surpass the number of deaths due to motor vehicle accidents each year in Georgia. This substance abuse problem warrants serious concern regarding Georgia’s state of public health, and the problem only escalates as weeks pass. Tackling the opioid epidemic is no easy feat, and understanding the scope of the problem is the first step in securing a future where lives are not lost to drug addiction. Opioid medications such as morphine, tramadol, oxycodone and methadone are widely prescribed to patients suffering from moderate to severe pain. These medicines are legal and provide needed… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen As Congress returns next week from its Independence Day recess, health care will be front and center. Amid the noise from special interest groups drowning out substantive debate, one proposal that could enormously benefit Georgia has gone unnoticed. The current U.S. Senate proposal, like the House version, introduces Medicaid per-capita block grants in 2020. Per-capita block grants have at one time or another been supported by both Democrats and Republicans. Putting Medicaid spending on a budget delights fiscal conservatives and deficit hawks. As opposed to a traditional block grant, funding would adjust up and down based on the number of enrollees in the program. This protects states from surging rolls during a recession while saving federal and… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen Addressing pre-existing issues and helping low-income individuals afford health insurance are two major issues being debated in health care reform. The challenge is avoiding unintended consequences by making sure the right incentives are in place. Insurance Regulations Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states regulated individual and small group insurance. The ACA preempted state regulations and imposed a host of new federal requirements. These regulations primarily impacted the individual insurance market, where only seven percent of Georgians get their health insurance. These new regulations included: Guaranteed Issue: Even though insurance is based on the concept of providing financial protection for “unforeseeable” future events, this regulation forced insurance to cover pre-existing condition. Community Rating: This regulation… View Article

Who are Georgia’s Uninsured?

By Kelly McCutchen The chart below breaks down Georgia’s 1.38 million uninsured residents based on Census Bureau data for 2016. The vertical axis represents income as a percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $12,000 for a single person. The largest group, 469,000 people represented by the bar at the bottom, is 100 percent of the federal poverty level and below. That’s 34 percent of the total uninsured individuals. If you include everyone from 200 percent of the poverty level and below, that represents 59 percent of the total. The colors represent age. The dark blue group on the far left represents those under 29, which is 44 percent of the total. Sixty-one percent are under 40. This… View Article
In a June 27, 2017, article by James Salzer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, on the state auditing enrollee eligibility on the State Health Benefit Plan. The article, “Georgia saves up to $56 million booting ineligibles from health plan,” is reprinted below and is available online here.  Georgia saves up to $56 million booting ineligibles from health plan By James Salzer The state is hoping to save up to $56 million a year by removing ineligible family members of those enrolled in the State Health Benefit Plan from the program. The state Department of Community Health, which administers Medicaid as well as the State Health Benefit Plan for teachers,… View Article

Thank you for what you are doing to lead the nation. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is leading the way. This is truly one of the leading lights in the state think tank movement. Excellent ideas. It’s well run. For those of you who are donors I congratulate you on your wisdom and I encourage you to do it and do it more.

Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute (2015) more quotes