Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said Wednesday that parents in Georgia should not have to fear prosecution if they use medical marijuana derivatives to treat their children who suffer from intractable seizures. He called on the state’s prosecutors not to charge families who possess the derivative.
Georgia’s high-profile hospital antitrust saga may not be over after all. The Federal Trade Commission is asking a state agency whether a potential divestiture of the Albany hospital that Phoebe Putney acquired in 2011 would require regulatory approval. Last August, the FTC and Phoebe Putney Health System announced they were settling the agency’s long-running antitrust suit over the hospital acquisition. But that deal has not yet been finalized.
The final enrollment day for the ACA insurance exchange was marred by computer glitches. The problem was a frustrating reminder of the much worse technical problems that plagued the website for weeks after it debuted in early October and November.
State insurance officials said Wednesday that 177,668 Georgians have completed applications for coverage in the health exchange as of March 15. That number, reported by health insurers in the state, reflects a recent surge in enrollees from the latest figures released by the federal government.
During its journey through the General Assembly, a bill that would require drug testing for some applicants for food stamps and welfare generated controversy and drew fierce opposition from Democrats. Ultimately, though, House Bill 772 was approved on the final day of the legislative session last week. It would require people applying for this government assistance to be tested if they raise “reasonable suspicion’’ of illegal drug use.
Rural health care may get a needed boost under a proposed regulation change that would allow a hospital to downsize its services, the commissioner of a Georgia health agency said Thursday. Clyde Reese, commissioner of the Department of Community Health, said he would ask the board of the agency to promulgate rules for such a “step-down” facility.
The Affordable Care Act is complex and controversial. People who are trying to raise awareness about it are in an uphill battle. The problems for healthcare navigators began early, with the bungled October 2013 debut of healthcare.gov, the federal exchange website. At the same time, a controversy over policy cancellations led to a nationwide wave of bad publicity about the ACA. And in Georgia, members of the Republican-led political establishment have remained firmly opposed to the ACA.
More than 38,000 Georgians signed up for coverage in the health insurance exchange in February, according to a federal report released Tuesday. That is slightly down from the number that enrolled the previous month. The Georgia enrollment dip last month was part of a national decline from the previous month, the report showed.
A bill requiring food stamp and welfare recipients to submit to drug testing if suspected of illegal drug use has taken another step forward in the General Assembly. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee narrowly approved HB 772 on Monday.
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.