Georgia Ranks Poorly in Health Care Poll

The State of Georgia ranked 42nd in a poll by the Commonwealth Fund to evaluate the State’s health care system.  The poll ranks states based on 32 indicators.  Georgia finished in the top five in only one category: Total single premium per enrolled employee at private-sector establishments that offer health insurance.

 Georgia scored especially poorly in the “Healthy Lives” category, finishing 45th in “Mortality attributable to lack of health care” and “Infant mortality.”

 One function of this poll is to empirically demonstrate the benefits of improving the state’s health care system.  For instance, if Georgia were to match the best states, 705,542 more adults would be insured and more than $52 million a year would be saved from reduced Medicare readmissions.

 The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation whose goal is to work for a high performance health care system.  High performance health care systems are judged by accessibility, quality of care, and efficiency.  Of particular interest to the Commonwealth Fund is the availability and quality of care available to America’s more vulnerable classes: low-income households, the uninsured, young children, minorities, and the elderly.

 In an effort to improve healthcare for uninsured children, Georgia has started a program called PeachCare for Kids.  PeachCare for kids is made possible by Title XXI of the Social Security Act, which provides states with the funding to make health care available to a growing number of uninsured children.  Comprehensive health care is available to children under the age of 18 who do not qualify for Medicaid and live in households with incomes at or below 235% of the federal poverty level.  This currently includes families of three earning over $40,000 a year and families of four earning $48,000 a year.

 PeachCare for kids includes doctor’s visits, immunizations, dental care, vision care, and hospitalization.  There is no cost for children under the age of six.  After six, the cost if $10-$35/month for one child and a maximum of $70/month for two or more children living in the same household.  For more information, call 1-877-GA-PEACH.

 Georgia’s Health Department also offers a variety of programs aimed at making health care more available to every citizen.  The Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health also regularly issues Health Alerts in an effort to keep the citizenry well informed about public health concerns.