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Legislative Update: February 15, 2016

WEEK 5

As the session has progressed, additional pieces of legislation that could impact health care consumers have been introduced. For a list of all the bills we’re watching, click here. SB 302, the Provider Directory Improvement Act was heard in committee and goes to a vote this week.


WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK

 

Improving Provider Directories

SB 302 was heard in committee last Thursday. We are happy to report that the conversation was widely favorable. There were a few points of contention around the usability provisions in the bill but the committee chair and bill sponsor were optimistic that consensus could be reached ahead of this coming Thursday’s committee meeting, where a vote is expected.

Please call or email the committee members and ask that they vote for SB 302, the Improving Provider Directories Act!

Sen. Charlie Bethel (Chairman)  404-651-7738

Sen. David Shafer (Vice Chairman) 404-656-0048

Sen. P.K. Martin (bill sponsor) 404-656-0048

Sen. Gail Davenport 404-463-5260

Sen. Marty Harbin 404-656-0078

Sen. Ed Harbinson 404-656-0074

Sen. Burt Jones 404-656-0074

Sen. Josh McKoon 404-463-33931

Sen. Renee Unterman (bill co-sponsor) 404-463-1368

Sen. Larry Walker 404-656-0081

 

Surprise Out-of-Network Billing

In both the House and Senate we are still hearing strong interest in addressing surprise out-of-network billing. We expect legislation to be introduced this week from Sen. Renee Unterman that would address this issue. Join the Georgia Health Action Network (GHAN) to receive updates on health-related legislation the General Assembly is considering and information about steps you can take to show your support (or raise your concerns)!

 

Network Adequacy 

GHF supports updating Georgia’s network adequacy standards. We don’t expect to see legislation this year, but there are conversations happening in both chambers and in both parties. GHF will be advocating for a study committee to meet during the 2016 off-session so that the legislature will have enough information during the 2017 Legislative Session to debate the best standards for Georgia. To read more about network adequacy and why is matters to Georgia check out our new policy brief. You can also watch this interview with Julie Silas of Consumers Union on the topic.

 

Closing Georgia’s Coverage Gap

Rep. Stacey Abrams has sponsored HB 823, the Expand Medicaid Now Act. While we don’t expect this legislation to receive a hearing this year, it is sparking important conversations about the coverage gap in Georgia. Read more here.

If you want to get involved in the movement to close Georgia’s coverage gap you can share this video with your social network or sign this petition. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter using #CoverGA


LET’S CHAT

This week we’re highlighting a conversation with Consumer’s Union policy expert, Lynn Quincy. Lynn talks about why Georgia should be talking about health value, and the cost to taxpayers when we don’t.

Lynn_Quincy_thumbnail


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Legislative Update: February 8, 2016

WEEK 4

policy-priorities1The first month of session is behind us and there is still so much to do! We’re excited about the discussion and movement around provider directory transparency. If you’re interesting in receiving action alerts as important legislation moves through the legislative process and small advocacy actions you can take, join the Georgia Health Action Network(GHAN)!

To see a full list of bills we’re following, click here.

 


WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK

Improving Provider Directories

SB 302, the Improving Provider Directories Act, will be heard, and possibly voted on, in the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee this Thursday.

Please call or email the members of the committee to let them know that you support the Improving Provider Directories Act!

Sen. Charlie Bethel (Chairman) 404-651-7738

Sen. David Shafer (Vice Chairman) 404-656-0048

Sen. P.K. Martin (bill sponsor) 404-656-3933

Sen. Gail Davenport 404-463-5260

Sen. Marty Harbin 404-656-0078

Sen. Ed Harbison 404-656-0074

Sen. Burt Jones 404-656-0082

Sen. Joshua McKoon 404-463-3931

Sen. Renee Unterman (bill co-sponsor)

Sen. Larry Walker 404-656-0081

 

Network Adequacy 

GHF supports updating Georgia’s network adequacy standards. We don’t expect to see legislation this year, but there are conversations happening in both chambers and in both parties. GHF will be advocating for a study committee to meet during 2016 so that the legislature will have enough information during the 2017 legislative session to debate the best standards for Georgia. To read more about network adequacy and why it matters to Georgia, check out our new policy brief.

 

Surprise Out-Of-Network Billing

In both the House and Senate we are still hearing strong interest in addressing surprise out-of-network billing. It is probable that we will soon see a bill that adresses this issue and we will keep you updated on any such developments.

 

Closing Georgia’s Coverage Gap

Rep. Stacey Abrams has sponsored HB 823, the Expand Medicaid Now Act. While we don’t expect this legislation to receive a hearing this year, it is sparking important conversations about the coverage gap in Georgia. Read more here.

If you want to get involved in the movement to close Georgia’s coverage gap you can share this video with your social network and sign this petition.


LET’S CHAT

This week we are highlighting in our Consumer Health Advocacy Today video series a conversation with Representative Debbie Buckner on her health priorities for the 2016 legislative session.

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Network adequacy — we have a model act!

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners approved an updated network adequacy model act at its Fall meeting in November. The model act is a framework that states can adopt to help ensure that consumers have meaningful and timely access to the health services in their benefit package. With more insurance companies offering narrow network plans, these basic standards are an important consumer protection, and GHF encourages state policymakers to consider tailoring and adopting the model act in Georgia. We’ll be announcing our legislative priorities for 2016 soon, and this issue will be on the list!


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Study committees conclude their work

Meredith-and-Claire-11.15-300x225Several health-related study committees met during the summer and fall months, and most of them are wrapping up their work. The Consumer and Provider Protection Act Study Committee held its final open meeting in November with a focus on network adequacy and provider directories. Claire McAndrew from Families USA, a national consumer health advocacy organization, and Georgians for a Healthy Future’s Health Policy Analyst Meredith Gonsahn delivered testimony on the importance of setting network adequacy standards and ensuring provider directory accuracy and usability. Look out for a final report from the committee later in December!


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