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Legislative update: week 10

Appropriations Health Subcommittee heard bill to close the coverage gap


Last Tuesday, the House Appropriations Health Subcommittee met for a hearing about HB 669, a bill that would close Georgia’s coverage gap by extending health insurance to low-income Georgians as allowed by the Affordable Care Act. Minority Leader Bob Trammell presented the bill to the committee and outlined how it would bolster economic activity in rural Georgia, increase access to care for low-income Georgians, and be a smart investment of tax-payer dollars. Committee members asked questions about the bill’s impact on people with mental health conditions and the costs and savings of the bill, and all expressed a desire to find a common solution to Georgia’s high uninsured rate and barriers to health care. No vote was taken on HB 669, so the bill remains in the House Appropriations Health subcommittee.

For a more detailed account of the hearing and to encourage the committee members to continue the conversation, check our latest blog post by clicking here.

Surprise billing: where the bills stand and prospects for passage

Surprise billing legislation received a significant amount of attention from legislators early in this session. Several of these bills aligned with GHF’s policy priority of facilitating greater access to care and ensuring financial protections for consumers purchasing private insurance. HB 314 (formerly SB 359) is expected to be amended and get a vote today in the House. The legislation would prevent consumers from receiving balance bills when they unexpectedly receive care from providers that are not in their insurance plan networks during emergencies. Surprise out-of-network medical bills can be hundreds of thousands of dollars and it’t time to legislation in Georgia that protects consumers.

Call your State Representative today and urge them to vote “YES” on House Bill 314 because this legislation protects patients from surprise bills in emergency situations.

Education legislation impacting behavioral health needs of young students passed by the Senate

HB 740, which requires schools to provide a multi-tiered system of supports for a student in pre-school through third grade prior to expelling or suspending the student for five or more days was passed by the Senate last week. The bill must now return to the House for agreement before being sent to the Governor for his signature. The legislation provides increased opportunities for schools to screen students for a variety of academic and behavioral health needs, and connect them to the appropriate health and other services.

Rural health bill and Health Coordination & Innovation Council bill moving forward

The House agreed to Senate changes to HB 769, the rural health care bill, which allows the bill to move to the Governor’s desk for approval. The complementary bill, SB 357, creating the new Health Coordination & Innovation Council, passed the Senate and House and must now return to the Senate for agreement. Both bills included negotiated changes to better coordinate the two bills’ likely impacts.

Stay up to date on the status of bills these last few days of session and check out our full list of health care related legislation at GHF’s legislative tracker.

Changes in Health Care and Policy in the 2018 Georgia Legislative Session

Georgians for a Healthy Future and the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute will be presenting “Changes in Health Care and Policy in the 2018 Legislative Session” on Thursday, April 19th at 10:00 AM. Make sure to join GBPI and GHF to hear an overview of the bills, resolutions, and budgets that were passed and that will affect Georgia’s health care system and health care consumers. Tune in to this webinar to find out how this session’s legislation may affect your work, your health care, or your coverage.

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