"These gaps really make it so that Georgians can't afford needed health care. If they receive health care, they're left with medical debt, or they have to make really tough…
Legislative Update: Week 10
The 2020 legislative session has resumed
Yesterday Georgia’s General Assembly resumed the 2020 legislative session after being suspended in March due to safety concerns over COVID-19. Legislators returned to the Capitol on Monday to pick up their work on the state budget and key pieces of legislation. The last ten days of legislative session will be dedicated primarily to the FY 2021 state budget to which Governor Kemp has proposed 11% cuts. Read the State Budget Cuts Are Not Inevitable section below to find out how you can take action for a state budget that supports the health and wellness of Georgians.
Senate committee approves surprise billing legislation
Critical surprise billing legislation heads toward finish line
Earlier this year, companion bills (SB 359 and HB 888) were introduced in the House and Senate to ban surprise out-of-network medical billing (also called surprise billing) in emergency and non-emergency situations. In a rare Sunday meeting, HB 888 was approved by the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. The Senate Rules Committee acted quickly today and approved the bill for a vote on the Senate floor tomorrow, Wednesday, June 17th. Please call your state senator today and encourage their support for this important piece of legislation!
New revenue can improve health in Georgia
State budget cuts are not inevitable
Because of the economic slow-down caused by COVID-19, Georgia’s revenues from sales taxes and other sources have dropped substantially. This has prompted the Governor to call for an 11% cut in state spending. Deep cuts to already-skeletal services and programs will disproportionately harm communities of color and rural communities, weaken Georgia’s health care system as it continues to respond to the pandemic, and curb the state’s ability to recover economically. GHF was one of 37 groups to send a letter to Governor Kemp and state lawmakers last week calling on them to raise new revenues rather than slash spending. New sources of revenue that can also improve health for Georgians include:
- Raising Georgia’s tobacco tax — an increase of $1 per pack would bring in $400 million each year and reduce smoking rates in Georgia
- Expanding Medicaid— in addition to providing health coverage to 500,000 Georgians, Georgia would draw down $3 billion in federal funds each year
- Re-claiming the health insurance assessment—by collecting the revenue from this existing tax, Georgia could bring in $360 million each year to make health insurance more affordable for consumers and small businesses
Georgia Can’t Wait!
Thank you for a successful Virtual Day of Action!
GHF and Cover Georgia welcomed legislators back on to work yesterday by urging them to take action to expand Medicaid. During yesterday’s virtual Day of Action, participants like you sent 500 messages to Governor Kemp and your legislators encouraging them to act immediately to protect the health and financial well-being of 560,000 Georgians by closing Georgia’s coverage gap! Thank you for your advocacy!
If you didn’t get a chance to contact your lawmakers yesterday, call or email today and ask them to act now to close Georgia’s coverage gap!
GHF has you covered
Stay up-to-date with the legislative session and COVID-19
GHF will be monitoring legislative activity on a number of critical consumer health care topics. Along with our weekly legislative updates and timely analysis of bills, we have the tools you need to stay in touch with health policy under the Gold Dome.
- Sign up for the Georgia Health Action Network (GHAN) to receive action alerts that let you know when there are opportunities for advocacy and action
- Track health-related legislation
- GHF’s 2019-2020 legislative priorities
GHF is dedicated to helping you understand and navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have the information you need to stay up-to-date with the latest developments.
- COVID-19 Policy priorities for a healthy Georgia — updated weekly
- Your health coverage, care, and well-being — updated weekl
- Mental health & addiction recovery in the time of COVID-19 — updated as new information becomes available
- NEW! Health insurance options for Georgians during COVID-19