Magnifying Positivity

Magnifying Positivity

Magnifying Positivity

magnifying positivity

Maginifying Positivity

My husband and I only had her in our care for two-weeks. She is a seven-year-old full of spunk and sass at the same time!  We adore that about her and looked forward to providing some stability and positivity in her life for the time she spent in our home.

Our great niece, whom we’ll call Spunky, to protect her name and innocence, has been suffering from dad abandonment issues and the lack of receiving or hearing positive reinforcements. Often times her conversations and attitude steered to seeing the negative side of things. My husband and I realized that she had been exposed and surrounded by so much parental and family negativity that it was challenging for her to see the positive side of anything.

At GCO, we understand how the absence of a father can negatively impact a child. That is one of the reasons why we have certified facilitators in a variety of research-based programs and partnerships with licensed professional counselors to help us provide healthy relationship education skills training for dads, parents, couples, youth and families. Together, HFI is helping families to be resilient and stable.

Unfortunately, Spunky’s dad was not willing to take a dad’s class to help him understand the true meaning of being a father or even understand how his negative behavior impacted his own daughter. He truly could benefit from a class we teach called, 24/7 Dad from the Father Source by the National Fatherhood Initiative. In this course, we deal with topics such as: Family History, What it Means to Be a Man, Showing and Handling Feelings, Men’s Health and so much more. If you are interested in hosting a men’s workshop, visit georgiaopportunity.org/family or contact our office at 770-242-0001 ext. 701.

A family sitting on the floor together

 

Here are three ways to help you to magnify a positive environment for your child to thrive:

 

  1. Make it a habit to give 5 positives for every 1 negative to fill your child/ren “emotional bank account”
  2. Make regular time for sharing and listening to your child/ren
  3. Invite others to share in the positive experience

Research indicates negative interactions have a strong influence on relationships. Relationship researcher, Dr. John Gottman talks about for every one negative you need to counter it with five positives. He also says that making regular deposits into your child’s “emotional bank account” is extremely healthy. Although, Dr. Gottman refers to this in the context of marriage, this concept can be applied to all types of relationships.

As we began our short time with Spunky, we knew it was important for us to magnify more positivity and appreciation in her life.

We had a family meeting to talk about how excited we were to have Spunky staying with us and asked for her participation in the meeting. She enjoyed giving her input.

Next, we came up with some ground rules on how to be more positive in our language and attitude. At first, she was hesitant but after we asked for her input she began to open up. 

During the meeting, there was a light bulb moment and that is when “The Positivity Club” was formed, with Spunky as the vice-president”.

The first rule of order: When you hear someone being negative you call them out and ask them to refrain it to be more positive.

Next rule of order was to invite others who had an impact on her to join the club. Spunky was thrilled because now she had her mom, dad, grandparents, cousins and aunts all participating in “The Positivity Club”.

Every day, we were intentional about creating an environment of positivity. In less than two weeks, we saw a big shift in her language and attitude. She was modeling for her parents what it looks and feels like to have an environment where children can thrive.

Today, Spunky is back home with her mom. We talk to her regularly and continue to fill her emotional bank account by promoting positivity. She is still the VP of The Positivity Club and she continues to call people out who are not being positive. 

Magnifying positivity and appreciation may be one of the most important contributors to a child’s well-being. 

It took us less than two weeks to see the difference in Spunky and it not only changed her but also the people around her, even her dad.

Clock ticks as feds threaten to remove work requirement from Georgia’s partial Medicaid expansion | HENRY HERALD

Clock ticks as feds threaten to remove work requirement from Georgia’s partial Medicaid expansion | HENRY HERALD

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) could decide in a matter of weeks whether it will remove the work or activity requirement in Georgia’s partial Medicaid expansion plan.

The CMS said the plan, which was approved by former President Donald Trump’s administration in October, does not “promote the objectives of the Medicaid program” and would be impossible to accomplish because of the COVID-19 pandemic…

In a statement released Friday, the nonprofit Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) said CMS’ decision could lead to court battles, leaving the thousands of Georgians who stand to get coverage under the program in a lurch.

“Instead of using our resources and time to bicker before the courts, we should apply them to seek out the best ways to improve people’s lives,” said Erik Randolph, GCO’s director of research. “[Georgia Pathways] is based on the idea of helping adults escape poverty, plain and simple. It will propel them into situations where they have better opportunities and more resources for health coverage, such as through affordable individual markets or employed-based coverage.”

Clock ticks as feds threaten to remove work requirement from Georgia’s partial Medicaid expansion | CENTER SQUARE

Clock ticks as feds threaten to remove work requirement from Georgia’s partial Medicaid expansion | CENTER SQUARE

Clock ticks as feds threaten to remove work requirement from Georgia’s partial Medicaid expansion | CENTER SQUARE

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) could decide in a matter of weeks whether it will remove the work or activity requirement in Georgia’s partial Medicaid expansion plan.

The CMS said the plan, which was approved by former President Donald Trump’s administration in October, does not “promote the objectives of the Medicaid program” and would be impossible to accomplish because of the COVID-19 pandemic…

In a statement released Friday, the nonprofit Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) said CMS’ decision could lead to court battles, leaving the thousands of Georgians who stand to get coverage under the program in a lurch.

“Instead of using our resources and time to bicker before the courts, we should apply them to seek out the best ways to improve people’s lives,” said Erik Randolph, GCO’s director of research. “[Georgia Pathways] is based on the idea of helping adults escape poverty, plain and simple. It will propel them into situations where they have better opportunities and more resources for health coverage, such as through affordable individual markets or employed-based coverage.”

Clock ticks as feds threaten to remove work requirement from Georgia’s partial Medicaid expansion | CENTER SQUARE

Push to increase foster care adoption tax credits could cost Georgia $4.8M | CENTER SQUARE

Push to increase foster care adoption tax credits could cost Georgia $4.8M | CENTER SQUARE

A measure that would increase foster care adoption tax credits could result in a state revenue loss of $4.8 million over the next five years, according to fiscal researchers.

House Bill 114, introduced by Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta, would increase the annual tax incentive for adopting a foster child from $2,000 to $6,000. According to a fiscal note from the Department of Audits and Accounts, the proposal could decrease state tax revenues by $400,000 in fiscal year 2022 and grow to up to $1.5 million by fiscal year 2026.

Corey Burres, vice president of communications for the nonpartisan think tank Georgia Center for Opportunity, said “foster care and adoption are crucial parts of” creating “flourishing communities.”

“These bills are a great first step forward in helping the thousands of Georgia kids waiting to be adopted each year,” said Burres, who also is a respite foster care parent. “We hope to see the foster community empowered through the current legislative session, so all of Georgia’s children can flourish – no matter their circumstances.”

Let’s Take Politics Out of Healthcare

Let’s Take Politics Out of Healthcare

Let’s Take Politics Out of Healthcare

healthcare politics

The federal government’s surprise move against Georgia

In a raw political move, the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) removed the approval of Georgia’s Pathways to Coverage, labeling the program as “pending.” 

Despite the fact that the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is consuming the resources and attention of the Governor’s office and the Department of Community Health, CMS gave Georgia only 30 days to respond before the federal government might eviscerate the program. In its February 12 letter, CMS targeted the program’s work or other community engagement components and also threatened “review” of other provisions of the program. 

This move by the new administration in Washington, D.C., appears to be unprecedented. Finally secured last fall, the approval was part of an administrative process, which included time for public comments, that took years to develop. 

Pathways to Coverage serves non-disabled adults below the poverty line. It is a critical component of Georgia’s plan to reduce the number of uninsured and make healthcare coverage more affordable, without sacrificing quality of care or causing other serious drawbacks associated with a traditional Medicaid expansion. It is based on the idea of not keeping these adults below the poverty line but moving them above it. 

The Success Sequence provides an outline of how to reverse the cycle of poverty in our communities. GCO uses this as a framework for much of our work.

Let’s focus on helping people instead

Pathways to Coverage is really about helping people. Readers might want to check out my prior blog on this program as well as some of our published research on fixing the healthcare system.

The so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA) has caused havoc for Georgians when it comes to healthcare coverage and costs. The rate of healthcare price increases did not abate but accelerated. As we reported before, our own data analysis confirmed other research by showing that for individual markets, “Georgians suffered average price increases of 70.7% for Bronze plans, 77.3% for Silver plans, and 70.4% for Gold plans” over five years.

We also found that prior to the ACA, the median cost for a health insurance plan on the individual market for a family of four was $5,386 per year. But within six years, the cost varied from $17,550 to $26,081, depending on the level of the plan. 

The bulk of Georgia’s uninsured problem lies not below the poverty line, but above it. Therefore, Pathways to Coverage necessarily links to Georgia’s Reinsurance Program designed to drive down costs in the individual markets. The test of the demonstration project will be to see how well Georgia can move people out of poverty into situations where they have better opportunities and more resources for health coverage, such as coverage through affordable individual markets or, better yet, employer-based coverage. 

America has one of the world’s best and most innovative healthcare systems, if you have insurance to afford it. By far, employer-based and private insurance provides the best coverage. Medicaid has among the worst healthcare outcomes, can trap families in poverty (as we and others have demonstrated), and can be an obstacle in moving to the much-better private coverage. Incentivizing people to improve their circumstances is an important strategy that this demonstration project hopes to prove. 

The Spirit of the Law

The new administration in Washington might feel like they are doing the right thing by attempting to strongarm states like Georgia into Medicaid expansion. However, this action raises concerns. 

First, the question of whether the federal government can mandate states to expand Medicaid was already settled in the negative by a seven-to-two U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Second, removing a critical component of this demonstration project will not likely accomplish expansion but, if followed through, will compromise the effectiveness of the project. Third, it goes against the whole purpose of demonstration projects. 

Pathways to Coverage is an approved—and hopefully remains so—Section 1115 waiver to Medicaid rules, which is found in the Social Security Act. In enacting this section of the law, Congress acknowledged that a one-size-fits-all approach dictated by the federal government is not always the best way to solve our public policy challenges. 

Congress acknowledged this principle again when it enacted Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act that allows states to come up with alternative plans in coordination with Section 1115 waivers. Georgia took advantage of both these provisions of law in developing its healthcare strategy. 

Finally, demonstration projects allow states to experiment with what works best. Without experimentation, we hinder our ability to discover better ways to run public programs for the benefit of people. 

What’s next

The best overall resolution would be for CMS to reinstate the approval and allow the demonstration to move forward. CMS will monitor the project, of course, but it must let it play out to see if the project will demonstrate a better way. Georgia has a vested interest in making it work. If not, Georgia could choose to modify or abandon the project. Besides, the federal government will have the opportunity to review the results when the waiver comes up for renewal.

Failure to reinstate the approval will likely result in a legal struggle before the courts. Who knows how long such a legal process will take? Instead of using our resources and time to bicker before the courts, we should apply them to seek out the best ways to improve people’s lives. 

*Erik Randolph is Director of Research at the Georgia Center for Opportunity. This blog reflects his opinion and not necessarily that of the Georgia Center for Opportunity.