Three in four Georgians say they’re satisfied with the overall value of their health care, according to a new poll released Thursday.
But Georgians show concerns about the effects of the Affordable Care Act, said the poll of 400 residents, released by Healthcare Georgia Foundation.
Nearly half of respondents – 47 percent – expect the ACA will result in their paying more for health care, with just 11 percent saying they believe they will pay less.
And they don’t see the law as helping improve the quality of medical care. Slightly more than half think the ACA won’t make a difference on quality, while 32 percent predict that it will lower quality.
“It is not surprising that Georgians going forward believe or expect the worst regarding their personal health care experience,’’ said Gary Nelson, president of Healthcare Georgia Foundation, which released the survey results at an Atlanta forum.
He noted that while most are satisfied with their health care now, many believe the cost will rise under the law.
The survey results come at a time when the ACA is under siege from critics, in the wake of technical problems with the federal health exchange website, and the cancellation of many individual insurance policies. full story
Flu cases are ticking up in Georgia.
Public health officials announced the first influenza-related deaths in Georgia this flu season –- two adults in metro Atlanta. Officials did not provide further details about the two who died.
The Department of Public Health says that while the flu level is still considered minimal in Georgia, it is reporting increases in flu activity statewide, including hospitalizations.
“The single most effective way to prevent the flu is the flu vaccine,’’ said Dr. Patrick O’Neal, director of health protection for Public Health. “Every healthy individual over the age of 6 months should get a flu vaccine, unless there are underlying medical conditions.”
Dr. Lisa Miller, a Covington pediatrician, has seen a higher number of cases within the past two months, the Rockdale Citizen reported. full story
In Tuesday’s edition of Georgia Health News, (“Commentary: Replace Georgia tort system”), Dr. Henry Goodwin writes about a proposal currently before the Georgia General Assembly that would take away Georgia citizens’ constitutional right to trial by jury when they have been harmed through the negligence of their health care provider. This proposal, he insists, will reduce health care costs and increase access to justice for all Georgians. However, if you think that this sounds too good to be true, then you would be correct.
This proposal, known as the “Patient Injury Act,” would strip Georgia’s medical malpractice victims of the constitutional right to seek justice in the courtroom before a jury of fellow citizens, and replace our time-tested civil justice system with a burdensome, taxpayer-funded government bureaucracy. full story
The number of Georgians signing up for a health plan through the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange increased to 6,859 by the end of last month, up from 1,390 as of Nov. 2, federal officials announced Wednesday.
The rise in enrollees reflects, in part, a better-functioning federal website, which has been plagued with problems since ACA enrollment began Oct. 1.
Overall, 364,682 Americans have selected plans from the state and federal exchanges by the end of November, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced.
November enrollment in the federally run exchanges — used in Georgia and 35 other states — was more than four times greater than October’s reported enrollment number, HHS said.
But the numbers fall well short of the White House’s past projections of enrollment during this period.
The Georgia health insurance industry and local navigators helping to enrolling people in health plans agree that the healthcare.gov website is working better.
“There are some positive steps in the customer experience,’’ Graham Thompson of the Georgia Association of Health Plans told GHN on Wednesday. full story
A new tort reform effort has gained considerable attention in the days leading up to the 2014 Georgia General Assembly session.
Senate Bill 141 would set up a system something like workers’ comp, with injured patients getting access to an independent medical review panel that would rule on the merits of their claims.
In a new GHN Commentary, Dr. Henry N. Goodwin Jr., an Augusta urologist, pushes for this revamp. It’s not a wholly untested idea, he says.
“Since the [proposal] eliminates the need for medical malpractice lawsuits, more of the awards would go to injured patients rather than the lawyers who file and defend medical malpractice claims,’’ Goodwin writes.
Here is a link to his Commentary.
Georgia Health News welcomes Commentary submissions. If you would like to propose a Commentary piece for Georgia Health News, please email Andy Miller, editor of GHN, at firstname.lastname@example.org