Georgia is one of the fastest growing states in the nation, and unfortunately our health care system has faced increased demands with more georgians needing access and also being able to afford medical care both physically and psychologically. In 2006, 1.6 million Georgians (nearly one out of every five) were without health insurance coverage. Twenty percent of those uninsured citizens were children. We have acted aggressively to combat an over-burdened system with little federal legislation or assistance. Since 2003, we have a record of:
* Ending frivolous lawsuits with major TORT reform.
* Improved transparency of health costs and quality,
* Saved Peach Care for Kids. Peach Care is funded at $341 million for the FY 09 budget.
* Reduced the demands on healthcare infrastructure for illegal immigrants.
* Analyzed and created the state-wide TRAUMA commission by funding $60 million.
* Reformed the outdated, regulatory CERTIFICATE of NEED program.
* Given tax breaks for the self-employed and offered consumers the option of low cost health insurance.
* Expanded the use of health savings accounts on the state level. Georgia is currently 40th in the nation in the number of physicians per capita - we have aggressively begun expansion of our medical education programs, especially promoting family medical practices and adding additional residency slots across the state.
* Improved Meals on Wheels by $1 million to replace federal funds that were cut.
In the next term, I will continue pursuing:
* Implementation of a state-wide trauma system. Georgian's are at a 20% greater risk for fatality than any other state in the nation because of our lack of emergency networking.
* Continue examining ways to fund a high risk insurance pool that helps small business people provide for affordable insurance to their employees.
* Looking at options for the elderly between personal care homes and nursing homes with community care service programs, keeping the elderly in their homes instead of institutions. The 09 budget includes $4.1 million for the prevention of eldely abuse and neglect.