House & Senate pass key health care bills
The Georgia House and Senate passed key bills that will now go to Gov. Brian Kemp, including…
– H.B. 481, a measure by Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Marietta) that would outlaw abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected unless the pregnancy is the result of rape (with a police report) or incest, the abortion is necessary to avert death or serious bodily harm to the mother, it is necessary to preserve the life of an unborn child, or the pregnancy is deemed medically futile. This measure would also allow a woman who seeks an abortion to potentially sue the physician who performs the abortion. MAG is opposed to this legislation because it would result in the criminal prosecution of physicians who perform medical procedures that are within their scope of practice, it would create a new avenue for lawsuits against physicians, and it could undermine efforts to recruit and retain OB-GYN in Georgia.
– H.B. 186, a measure by Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Savannah) that includes several certificate of need (CON) provisions that would 1) limit the “rival” health care entities that can oppose a CON application to those that are within a 35-mile radius of a proposed project and 2) create a pathway for Cancer Treatment Centers of America to add more beds and serve more patients in Georgia and 3) increase the financial thresholds for hospital construction and medical equipment.
– H.B. 187, a measure by Rep. Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) that would create a State Health Benefit Plan pilot program to treat and manage obesity. MAG supports this bill.
– S.B. 115, a measure by Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) that would establish a Georgia telemedicine license for physicians in other states. MAG supports this bill.
– S.B. 118, another measure by by Sen. Unterman that would require health insurers to “provide coverage for health care services that are provided through telehealth or telemedicine as directed by the Georgia Department of Insurance.” MAG supports this bill.
– H.B. 321, a bill by Rep. Jodi Lott (R-Evans) that originally contained language that would have extended the sunset on the hospital provider fee, which is an important tool for funding indigent care in the state. This bill now includes financial disclosure requirements for non-profit hospitals.
– H.B. 26, a bill by Rep. Dave Belton (R-Buckhead) that would “facilitate telehealth and temporary in-person, face-to-face [care] across jurisdictional boundaries.” MAG was neutral on this bill.
The House and Senate passed a resolution (H.R. 589) by Rep. Mark Newton (R-Augusta) that will result in the formation of a ‘House Study Committee on Maternal Mortality.’ MAG supported this measure.
Legislators also passed a resolution (H.R. 590) by Rep. Karen Bennett (D-Stone Mountain) that will result in the formation of a ‘House Study Committee on Georgia's Barriers to Access to Adequate Health Care to look at Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) and Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infection (PANDAS).’
And the House decided to form a work group to study health care reimbursement. MAG will take an active role in this effort.