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Legislative Update: Action alerts on lead exposure & prior authorization bills, plus hot housing legislation to watch!

Legislative Update: Week 6

The GHF team prides itself on being able deliver timely and accurate updates on health care happenings at the Capitol. We hope that you enjoy reading our weekly legislative updates and that they help you stay informed and connected. If you enjoy them, please consider supporting our work with a donation today. Thank you for your continued support!
In this week’s update:
Image of the Georgia capitol
General Assembly passes FY2021 state budget
Image of outline of state of Georgia

Last week, Governor Kemp signed the amended FY2021 state budget. Changes to the current state budget increased state spending by $654 million for a $26.5 billion budget (HB 80.) The budget includes $20 million to expand broadband internet access to rural regions and a $946,580 increase for the Georgia Department of Public Health so they can better respond to and manage the state’s COVID-19 response efforts.

The House Appropriations Committee continues to work on the FY22 budget, which will begin on July 1, 2021. The Georgia Budget & Policy Institute has published their annual budget primer to help you understand the ins & outs of the proposed budget.

Action alerts: Childhood exposure and prior authorization

Ask the Georgia House to vote YES on HR 52!
Photo of mother and child

Lead poisoning in children is irreversible and can cause a number of serious health issues. Sponsored by Rep. Katie Dempsey, HR 52 would create the Joint Study Committee on Childhood Lead Exposure so that legislators can study how this issue is affecting Georgia children and consider fixes. 

Contact your representative today and ask them to vote YES on HR 52 when it comes to the House floor!

HR 52 is currently in the House Rules Committee. For more information on this important public health issue, check out this helpful fact sheet from Voices for Georgia’s Children. For more on HR 52, revisit GHF’s February 8th legislative update.

Ask the Senate Insurance & Labor Committee to support SB 80!
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SB 80, the Ensuring Transparency in Prior Authorization Act, sponsored by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, aims to increase access to care by putting common sense guardrails around prior authorization. (Learn more about prior authorization in our February 8th legislative update.)This bill had a hearing in the Health & Workman’s Comp Subcommittee last week but did not receive a vote. Ask the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee to support SB 80 today!

Housing, Medicaid expansion, & more Medicaid

Legislation introduced to promote housing stability
icon of an apple, house, money, and a car

Georgia’s eviction rates are among the highest in the country. Evictions can negatively impact the financial and bodily health of tenants. Children who move a lot are more likely to have chronic conditions or be in poorer health. Forced moves are costly for low-income families, limiting what they can spend on health care, and families often end up in lower-income neighborhoods with fewer health supports (like access to healthy foods or good paying jobs). 

HB 408, sponsored by Rep. Sharon Cooper, would promote housing stability for families. The bill would require eviction notices be provided and delivered in writing. The bill would also allow tenants to pay all back rent within seven days of receiving the notice – an opportunity they do not currently have. This change would bring Georgia in line with 40 other states.

This bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Medicaid expansion bill introduced!
image showing a gap between medicaid and marketplace coverage

SB 172, sponsored by Sen. Gloria Butler, would allow Georgia to fully expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Georgia is one of only 12 states that continues to reject federal money to cover low-income adults. Medicaid expansion would cover more than 500,000 Georgians and remains the most popular, cost-effective, and evidence-based solution available

SB 172 was referred to the Senate Appropriations CommitteeContact Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Hufstetler today to ask for a hearing on SB 172! You can reach him at chuck.hufstetler@senate.ga.gov or 404-656-0034. (Phone calls are better than emails!)

Joint study committee proposed to examine Medicaid Sustainability 
icon of medical sign in hands

HR 186, sponsored by Rep. Debbie Bucker, would create the Joint Medicaid Sustainability Study Committee. Medicaid has been a first responder for Georgia’s health system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through Medicaid, Congress has provided billions of dollars to support Georgia hospitals and health care providers, and to cover the costs of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations for low-income Georgians. Medicaid is also providing health insurance for a record number of Georgians (mostly children) after unprecedented job losses forced families from their job-based coverage.

Rep. Buckner’s proposal would bring together state leaders, consumers, health care providers, insurers, and other stakeholders to examine Georgia’s Medicaid system and look for opportunities to strengthen it. We are grateful to Rep. Buckner for her inclusion of a consumer representative on the proposed study committee.

This week’s advocacy events

Speak up for a healthier Georgia during these virtual advocacy days!
man in support circle

Don’t miss out on opportunities for advocacy with GHF and our partners! Attend these advocacy events and help us build a healthier Georgia together:

GHF has you covered!

Stay up-to-date with the legislative session
icon of the capitol

GHF will continue monitoring legislative activity on a critical consumer health care issues. 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.


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