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The Affordable Care Act presents the opportunity for Georgia to move forward in covering uninsured children in our state and working toward improved health outcomes as well.  Notable provisions already have gone into effect, but other major components of the law will be implemented in phases for the next few years.  The federal law provides an overarching frame for how the new system will work, but it is legislation and policy decisions at the state level that will make this law work well for kids and families in Georgia.  Given that it’s the start of a new calendar year and also of a new state legislative session, many leaders in Georgia are sharing their optimistic visions for our state.  We all want to see a healthier economy for our state.  But in order to achieve that goal, it stands to reason that we need a healthier Georgia. 

We stand to gain a lot for our state if we are wise in how we implement the Affordable Care Act.  But if we are at all passive in how we implement the law, we stand to lose a lot.  We lose millions of federal grant dollars for planning and implementation that will go to other states instead.  We lose the ability to structure a health care system for Georgia that works best for Georgians. 

And, while highly unlikely, if Congress repeals the entire law, we lose even more.  No longer will parents be able to cover their children on their insurance plans up to age 26.  No longer will insurance companies be required to provide coverage for children with pre-existing conditions.  In last week’s posting, I had mentioned a national call-in day would be scheduled for this week.  Given the tragedy in Tucson, however, the majority of Congressional action on the Hill has been halted.  We will continue to keep you posted as to when the call-in day will be rescheduled.  In the meantime, please take the time to sign onto an online petition, organized in part by MomsRising, which urges Congress to move forward with the new health law.

People throughout the U.S. are still reeling from the tragic shooting this past weekend.  Our thoughts go out to Congresswoman Giffords in her recovery, as well as to all other victims and families who have suffered a loss.  We collectively mourn as a nation for the senseless suffering.  Let us also collectively show gratitude and appreciation to all Members of Congress for all that they do for us.  As you continue to advocate on behalf of kids and on other issues which matter to you, please also take the time to thank them for their public service.

Joann Yoon, Assoc. Policy Director for Child Health

Voices for Georgia’s Children


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January 2011