Georgia’s state House passed a bill late Monday designed to push back against the federal Affordable Care Act by preventing state government from helping in the implementation and enforcement of the law also known as "Obamacare."
Georgia lawmakers have now made it to the other side. That is, the other side of so-called Crossover Day, which took place Monday at the state Capitol. They are now three-quarters of the way through the 2014 legislative session, and barreling toward the end, currently scheduled for March 20. Any bill that didn’t pass one of the General Assembly’s chambers Monday won’t have a shot at becoming law in the final ten days of this year’s 40-day legislative session.
The physician pay hike for Medicaid services is finally beginning to reach Georgia doctors, more than a year after it was intended to take effect. The three managed care organizations serving the majority of Medicaid beneficiaries are sending the extra payments to physicians starting this month, according to a schedule released by the Department of Community Health.
More than one 100,000 Georgians are now enrolled in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. A Senate committee voted Thursday to approve a bill that would ban those plans from covering abortions in the state. State Senator Judson Hill (R-Marietta) is sponsoring the bill. The legislation, S.B. 98, bans any state health plan from covering abortions. It also prohibits federal plans, like those subsidized under the Affordable Care Act, from offering abortion coverage in Georgia.
The issue of Medicaid expansion drew its first full-scale 2014 General Assembly hearing Wednesday. As expected, the arguments reflected the passions surrounding the Affordable Care Act. A House Judiciary subcommittee voted to pass HB 990, which would require the Legislature to approve any expansion of Medicaid here, rather than leaving the decision up to the governor alone.
Tea Party and other activists opposed to the federal Affordable Care Act packed a small hearing room Monday to listen to the arguments in favor of House Bill 707, sponsored by Rep. Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine). The bill would prevent state institutions and employees from implementing ACA provisions.
State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) and nine other Moral Monday Georgia supporters were arrested inside Gov. Nathan Deal’s office Monday after refusing repeated police orders to leave. The demonstrators wanted Deal to accept their letter urging him to expand the state’s Medicaid program.
While describing how Georgia’s economy has escaped its “deep freeze,” Gov. Nathan Deal again showed no signs of thawing on the idea of expanding Medicaid. Expansion of Medicaid as called for under the Affordable Care Act would cost the state too much, Deal said. A legislative panel Thursday offered a different perspective.
More than 58,000 Georgians signed up for health coverage in the insurance exchange by Dec. 28, a nearly tenfold jump from the enrollment figure a month before, according to a federal report released Monday. The increase reflected a more functional federal website for people to navigate, and came ahead of the deadline of late December to sign up for insurance to begin Jan. 1.
A safe prediction for the upcoming session of the Georgia General Assembly is that dozens of bills involving health care will be up for consideration. That’s the case every year under the Gold Dome. But given the likelihood this year of a short session, ending in mid-March, it’s also a good bet that many health bills will be sidetracked or stalled before they come to a vote. Here’s a roundup of some of the important legislative issues in health care.