On radio: Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan will join us at 7:40 a.m. Friday on the Hometown Headlines Radio Edition on WRGA 98.7 FM. Our first question will be about the healthcare package.
Media release: On Wednesday, the Patients First Act (SB 106) was introduced in the Georgia State Senate by Gov. Brian Kemp’s Floor Leader, Sen. Blake Tillery (R – Vidalia).
“The Patients First Act is a step toward lowering insurance premiums, enhancing access to quality care, and improving health outcomes in every part of our state,” said Kemp. “By working with Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, Speaker David Ralston and the legislature, we will craft a Georgia-centric healthcare system that ensures a bright and healthy future for all Georgians – no matter their Zip code.”
Adds Duncan: “Georgians deserve a health care system that is accessible, affordable, and second to none – and the Patients First Act will allow us the flexibility to craft such a system. I look forward to working with Governor Kemp and Speaker Ralston to find innovative solutions and advance substantive policies that will dramatically improve health care for hundreds of thousands of Georgians. I sincerely believe our solutions are going to mirror advances we’ve seen from the private sector.”
Said Ralston: “I appreciate Governor Kemp working with the legislature to find a conservative way to ensure access to healthcare for more Georgians. We are committed to moving forward in a fiscally-responsible way that avoids the perils associated with Medicaid expansion.”
Senate Bill 106
By: Senators Tillery of the 19th, Strickland of the 17th, Miller of the 49th, Dugan of the
30th, Kennedy of the 18th and others
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
1 To amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 and Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia
2 Annotated, relating to medical assistance and insurance, respectively, so as to authorize the
3 Department of Community Health to submit a Section 1115 waiver request to the United
4 States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
5 Services; to authorize the Governor to submit a Section 1332 innovation waiver proposal to
6 the United States Secretaries of Health and Human Services and the Treasury; to provide for
7 implementation of approved Section 1332 waivers; to provide for expiration of authority; to
8 provide for legislative findings; to provide for related matters; to provide for a short title; to
9 provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
10 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
11 PART I
12 SECTION 1-1.
13 This Act shall be known and may be cited as the “Patients First Act.”
14 PART II
15 SECTION 2-1.
16 Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to
17 medical assistance generally, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
19 The department shall be authorized to submit a waiver request, on or before June 30, 2020,
20 to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and
21 Medicaid Services pursuant to Section 1115 of the federal Social Security Act, which may
22 include an increase in the income threshold up to a maximum of 100 percent of the federal
23 poverty level. Further, upon approval of the waiver, the department shall be authorized to
19 LC 33 7678-EC
S. B. 106
24 take all necessary steps to implement the terms and conditions of the waiver without any
25 further legislative action.”
26 PART III
27 SECTION 3-1.
28 The General Assembly finds that:
29 (1) For Georgians in recent years, private sector health insurance choices have decreased
30 and the costs of insurance coverage have increased;
31 (2) Through the granting of Section 1332 innovation waivers, the federal government
32 allows states to pursue innovative strategies for providing their residents with access to
33 high quality, comprehensive, and affordable health insurance while retaining the basic
34 protections for consumers; and
35 (3) Such waivers may be narrowly tailored to address specific problems and may
36 address, among other things, the creation of state reinsurance programs, high-risk health
37 conditions, changes to premium tax credits and cost-sharing arrangements,
38 consumer-driven health care accounts, the creation of new health insurance products, the
39 implementation of health care delivery systems, or the redefinition of essential health
41 SECTION 3-2.
42 Title 33 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to insurance, is amended in
43 Chapter 1, relating to general provisions, by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
45 (a) The Governor is hereby authorized to submit one or more applications to the United
46 States Secretaries of Health and Human Services and the Treasury for waiver of applicable
47 provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P. L. 111-148) under
48 Section 1332 with respect to health insurance coverage or health insurance products. Any
49 such submission to obtain a state innovation waiver may include multiple waiver
50 submissions. On or after January 1, 2020, upon approval of one or more waivers, the state
51 is authorized to implement such waiver or waivers as provided under Section 1332 of such
52 federal act in a manner consistent with state and federal law.
53 (b) The authority granted to the Governor in subsection (a) of this Code section to submit
54 one or more applications shall expire on December 31, 2021.”
19 LC 33 7678-EC
S. B. 106
55 PART IV
56 SECTION 4-1.
57 This Act shall become effective upon its approval by the Governor or upon its becoming law
58 without such approval.
59 SECTION 4-2.
60 All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed