May 2, 2014 Radio Commentary

Abortion Funding Opt-out

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, May 2, 2014 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Good morning, Jim. During the session, I reported asking a friend how things were going for the pro-life bill she was working. At that point, she was waiting for her bill to be “tweaked” so it would pass.

But “tweaking” a bill is not as easy as it sounds. Adding a comma in the wrong place or putting “and” where an “or” should be is a big deal, because the tiniest amendment can dramatically change or kill a bill. But her waiting was rewarded; and the tweaking was successful. So, when S.B. 98 goes into effect, no insurance policy issued in this state will be allowed to provide coverage for abortion unless it is already allowed in Georgia.

Pro-life lobbyists got S.B. 98 passed. It does not create or recognize a right to abortion; it will not make legal any abortion that is currently illegal in Georgia; and it does not affect benefits for abortion already permitted under the state health insurance plan as approved by the board and existing on January 1st of this year. Continue reading

April 4, 2014 Radio Commentary

Two Slam-Dunks in One Bill

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, April 4, 2014 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Good morning, Jim. The 39th and 40th days are the most dangerous times of the legislative session. That’s when legislators scramble to pass bills that are poised to pass, but will die unless they get a second chance. A second chance could mean attaching it to another bill, but that’s a little tricky, too, since a last-minute amendment might get both bills killed. But, thankfully, Representative Jason Spencer allowed H.B. 707 to be attached to H.B. 943, and it worked. So, here’s what we can expect.

When H.B. 943 becomes law, cancer treatment for oral chemotherapy will have the same insurance coverage as intravenous (IV) chemotherapy, and the coverage in effect December 30th cannot be changed to avoid it. Insurers may not offer incentives or limit treatment to encourage patients to accept inferior coverage, and healthcare policies cannot limit payment to doctors who recommend patients for other services or provide additional services, themselves. Intravenous chemo and injected chemo co-pay cannot be increased and $200 is the MOST cost-share patients can be charged for a filled prescription. Those provisions become law no later than July 1st or sooner if the governor signs H.B. 943 before then, and that part of H.B. 943 takes effect January 1, 2015. Continue reading

April 2014 Newsletter

Passed: Cancer Coverage Equity; Obamacare
Navigator Program to Cease!

 When H.B. 943 becomes law, cancer coverage will be enhanced, Georgia will not implement or operate a health exchange, and navigator programs will end when the navigator grant money is spent.

Conjoined: The Tale of Two Bills

[For 40 days after the session, the governor may veto, sign or allow bills to become law without his signature.]
When District 27’s Representative Lee Hawkins of Gainesville introduced H.B. 943 February 6th, he had no idea how important it would be. From its introduction by Representative Jason Spencer of District 180, H.B. 707 was in trouble. But, thankfully, Representative Hawkins, put his own H.B. 943 at risk to allow Representative Spencer to amend it with critical parts of H.B. 707, and it paid off. On March 18th, the amended bill passed, doubly benefiting Georgians.

Passed within H.B. 943 were parts of H.B. 707, the “Georgia Health Care Freedom Act.” So, when the governor signs it or by July 1st, a new law in Georgia will include this paragraph: “31-1-40. Neither the state nor any department, agency, bureau, authority, office, or other unit of the state nor any political subdivision of the state shall expend or use moneys, human resources, or assets to advocate or intended to influence the citizens of this state in support of the voluntary expansion by the State of Georgia of eligibility for medical assistance in furtherance of the federal ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,’ beyond the eligibility criteria in effect on the effective date of this Code section under the provisions of … the federal Social Security Act as amended.”

Additional Requirements of H.B. 707, as Passed in H.B 943

  • The attorney general will enforce provisions of the Georgia Health Care Freedom Act.
  • Bona fide educational instruction about Obamacare is not prohibited.
  • MEDICAID programs will not be affected.
  • Establishment or operation of a state exchange for Obamacare is prohibited.
  • Conversion of an existing program into a state exchange is prohibited.
  • Navigator programs will be terminated and not renewed when navigator grants expire.
  • To read the rest of this newsletter in PDF format, please click here.

November 15, 2013 Radio Commentary

Obamacare in Georgia

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, November 15, 2013 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

Good morning, Jim. Since Georgia Obamacare premiums vary from place to place, the cost of your premiums depends on which of the 16 insurance regions you call home. Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said insurance rates in Georgia will increase nearly 200 percent for some folks and self-employed or small business owners will face increases up to 25 percent.

Health insurance experts identify Atlanta as one of Georgia’s lower premium cost regions, while insurance in southwest Georgia could be up to 40 percent higher for the same plan. Individuals between age 26 and 35 could pay $316 per month in Atlanta and $4 more in Macon, but in southwestern Mitchell County the same coverage for that age group would cost $466.

In September, Georgia community health providers were still unsure how to implement the federal health exchange, since Georgia is one of 26 states that chose NOT to set up a state exchange. Also in September, the Better Business Bureau warned that scammers may call asking for your bank account number and other personal information, to set you up for a phony “Affordable Care Card.” To that, the Better Business Bureau said, “Legitimate government officials will never call and ask for personal information over the phone.” Continue reading