Health care freedom bill gains steam

by Sarah Fay Campbell

alt

Stover

Georgia House Bill 707, now known as the “Georgia Healthcare Freedom Act,” has narrowly received the blessing of the House Judiciary Committee and could be debated on the House floor Monday.

State Rep. David Stover, R-Palmetto, is one of the primary sponsors of the bill, which was originally called the “Georgia Healthcare Freedom and ACA (Affordable Care Act) Noncompliance Act.”

Monday is the 30th legislative day of the 40-day Georgia General Assembly session. Known as Crossover Day, it’s the day that bills must pass either the House or Senate in order to have a reasonable chance of becoming law in the current session. The deadline isn’t absolute, however.

A short House calendar has already been set for Monday, and HB 707 is not on it. However, many more bills are expected to be added when the House Rules Committee meets early Monday.

Stover could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The bill has gone through some changes during the “vetting process,” and doesn’t contain as many prohibitions on state and local government employees doing anything that could “assist in implementing Obamacare” as the earlier version.

A new addition to the bill deals with the state insurance commissioner. The bill includes that the insurance commissioner is “prohibited from enforcing or investigating any health-care insurance related provision of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.”

According to a story in the Athens Banner-Herald, the bill would prohibit the insurance office, which typically helps Georgians who have problems with insurance providers, from assisting people who have specific problems related to the provisions of the ACA. As passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, HB 707 prohibits any state or local department, agency, etc., from using monies, human resources or assets to “advocate or influence the citizens of this state in support of the voluntary expansion” of Medicaid eligibility.

It also prevents any state or local agency from doing anything to create, administer or otherwise operate an insurance exchange, or to apply for, accept, or expend federal monies related to exchanges.

Lastly, no government agency, including the University System of Georgia, can create or operate a “navigator” program.



More Local

Coco's Cupboard

Partnership works to find service dogs for veterans

Dog trainers Suzanne Aaron and Tara Cotton saw many clients who had dogs they just couldn’t handle. They would help the owners find do ... Read More


250 students affected

Homelessness ‘vicious cycle that’s going to continue’

The economy has bounced back from the lows of a few years ago. The housing market is healthy, and the jobless rate has improved. But, for so ... Read More


Annual Sunrise on the Square Road Race a success

The annual Sunrise on the Square included ideal weather and a first-time winner who actually pushed his baby in a stroller. The race, hosted ... Read More


HealthSouth facility scheduled to open Dec. 2

Progress for HealthSouth’s new facility is on track for a Dec. 2 opening, which will add to the town’s growing collection of hea ... Read More


Subsidized medical center proposed for Senoia

Palmetto Health Council is applying for a grant to bring a subsidized medical clinic to Coweta, proposed for the Senoia area. The non-profit ... Read More

Economic Impact

Ports hit new record

The Georgia Ports Authority moved more than 3 million 20-foot equivalent container units in fiscal year 2014 – and set a new record fo ... Read More