When signing the bill creating Medicare and Medicaid 50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson held the ceremony in Independence, Missouri, where former President Harry Truman lived.
Truman, who had pushed unsuccessfully for national health insurance during his own presidency, was at LBJ’s side during the signing. (And in one of those of odd coincidences of U.S. political history, the two presidents from different eras would die less than a month apart in the early 1970s.)
President Lyndon Johnson signs the Medicare bill into law while Harry Truman (seated) looks on.
The decades-long push to create the two health insurance programs was like “a long-distance run,’’ said Dr. David Satcher, a former U.S. surgeon general, at a Carter Center forum Wednesday.
Satcher added that it was also “like a relay race,’’ noting that Truman handed off the “baton’’ of national insurance to LBJ.
This week, federal officials along with many health care and community organizations are marking the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, created July 30, 1965. full story
Most rural Georgia residents in a new survey say they have experienced problems with the affordability of health insurance and the cost of health care.
When asked the biggest problem facing local health care, 68 percent named cost, with quality of care and access to care trailing far behind, according to the survey of 491 people. It was conducted by Opinion Savvy and commissioned by Healthcare Georgia Foundation.
The poll may be the first to focus entirely on rural health care issues in Georgia. It comes in the wake of four rural hospital closings in the state since the beginning of 2013.
Those hospitals closed due to financial problems, and the economic and medical effects of their loss have drawn the attention of Georgia’s political leadership.
Across America, rural residents generally lag far behind people in other areas when it comes to health and quality of medical care. full story
A metro Atlanta firm is closing its five Georgia day care facilities for medically fragile children.
Pediatria HealthCare, headquartered in Norcross, notified state officials this month that the closings are coming.
Pediatria’s president, Joe Harrelson, told GHN on Thursday that after the closings, no day care facilities for medically fragile kids will remain in the state.
He said the closures are a reaction to state Medicaid officials’ becoming much more restrictive on allowing coverage for children to get medical day care services.
Three of the facilities are in metro Atlanta — Tucker, Smyrna and Stockbridge — while the others are in Columbus and Savannah. full story
An Ohio program that gave insurance to thousands of low-income patients helped them improve on health measures and also produced unexpectedly low costs, according to a study published Tuesday.
MetroHealth Medical Center
Those findings may have a significant impact in Georgia.
State officials are considering a proposal from Grady Health System in Atlanta to extend coverage to uninsured Georgians through a special Medicaid “waiver.’’ Grady officials say the waiver program would be modeled after the Cleveland MetroHealth Care Plus program.
The study, in the journal Health Affairs, analyzed the impact of the Care Plus program, which gave 28,295 Cuyahoga County residents Medicaid coverage for 11 months in 2013. full story
Piedmont Fayette Hospital is expanding its emergency room capacity to keep up with Fayette County’s growth and rising patient numbers.
The $40 million project will also add more beds to the hospital, located in Fayetteville, south of Atlanta.
More than 61,000 patients were treated in the hospital ER last fiscal year, but Piedmont Fayette officials expect the number to exceed 67,000 this year.
“We’re at capacity now, and this will help us better serve our patients,” CEO Michael Burnett said last week. And he announced that the hospital wants to add even more capacity in the near future.
Many Georgia hospitals are reeling financially from the high costs of uncompensated care, because they are treating so many uninsured patients. full story