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The 2015 legislative session is underway!

georgia-capital-buildingThe legislative session opened last week, and health care is already a hot topic. Here is what we have learned in the first week and a half:

 

It’s budget week! Governor Deal released his budget on Friday, and legislators have been holding budget hearings all week. Here are two aspects of the health care budget that have our attention:

 

 

  • The proposed budget eliminates State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) coverage for non-certificated school employees (bus drivers, custodians, etc) who work less than 30 hours a week.  State officials estimate it will affect more than 11,000 state employees.  We’re still sifting through the details, but we’re very concerned that some of those employees may fall into the coverage gap if they lose coverage through the SHBP.

 

  • There is no money in the state budget to sustain the primary care reimbursement rate increase that was temporarily funded with federal dollars. This temporary bump  made it easier for patients in Georgia and other states to get medical appointments and access care.

 

There has also been some early momentum at the Capitol around an increase in the tobacco tax, one of Georgians for a Healthy Future’s legislative priorities! As bills and budget items impacting health care in Georgia are introduced and discussed, we will keep you posted and identify opportunities for advocacy. We’ll be at the Gold Dome throughout the session so look for updates and alerts in our Peach Pulse newsletter!

 


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