Keeping Current @ the Capitol: Week of February 18th


Week of February 18, 2019:

Medicaid Bill Gets Hearing Today
The ‘Patients First Act’ – 
SB 106 will receive a hearing today in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee at 1:00PM. This bill was introduced last week by Republican leadership and would approve an 1115 demonstration waiver to increase Medicaid coverage to those who are at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level in Georgia. You can watch online here.

Senator Kay Kirkpatrick (R-East Cobb) answers questions at last week’s press conference regarding SB 106 – the Patients First Act

Legislative Updates (New Additions)

SB 85 – Early Childcare Scholarship
(Steve Henson, D-Stone Mountain) Would establish an early childcare scholarship program to be managed by the Department of Education.
SB 106 – Patients First Act
(Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia) Would allow the State to submit an 1115 Medicaid Demonstration Waiver to increase Medicaid coverage to those who are at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Line.
SB 115 – Telemedicine Practice 
(Renee Unterman, R-Buford) Would allow physicians who are licensed to practice telemedicine in other states to practice telemedicine in Georgia.
HB 290 – PrEP Pilot Program at DPH
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would create a three-year pilot program under the Department of Public Health that would provide preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drug assistance to people who are at risk of being infected with HIV.
HB 324 – Georgia’s Hope Act
(Micah Gravley, R-Douglasville) Would allow for the legal production, manufacturing, purchase, and sale of THC oil in Georgia. Certain individuals who suffer from a list of qualified diseases may currently possess THC oil, but they cannot legally buy THC oil in the state – this bill would allow for that transaction.
HB 331 – Protective Orders and Intimate Partner Violence
(Mandy Ballinger, R-Canton) Would edit the current code to allow for those who live together or have lived together, and/or have had a past or current pregnancy to be able to file for an order of protection in the case of family violence.
HB 345 Dignity for Incarcerated Women
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would ensure that no restraints of any kind are used on a woman who is in the second or third trimester of pregnancy, in labor, in delivery, or in the immediate postpartum period while incarcerated. Also ensures that no pregnant women would be subject to a squat and cough search or vaginal exam unless prescribed and performed by a licensed healthcare professional. HMHB strongly supports this legislation and thanks Chairwoman Cooper for her leadership on this important issue. 

Legislative Updates (Previously Reported-Senate)

SB 4 – Establish Private Lactation Room at the State Capitol
(Jen Jordan, D-North Atlanta) would establish a private lactation room open to the public in either the Capitol Building or the Paul D. Coverdell Legislative Office Building. Passed State Institutions and Property.
SB 16 – Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Act
(Kay Kirkpatrick, R-East Cobb) would authorize the Georgia Composite Medical Board to administer the compact in this state. Passed Senate Health and Human Services. Passed Senate, moves to House.
SB 18 – Direct Primary Care Act
(Kay Kirkpatrick, R-East Cobb) would ensure that providers who are giving care to patients for an agreed upon fee, and does not bill a third-party for services rendered, must inform the patient that the agreement is not the same as insurance. It also exempts primary care agreements from the same regulation as health insurance. Substitute version of the bill passed Senate Health and Human Services.
SB 28 – Establish Restrictions on Co-Payments and Co-Insurance
(Lester Jackson, D-Savannah) would prohibit certain insurers from imposing a copayment, coinsurance, or office visit charge in an amount greater than such charges imposed for physician or osteopath services to an insured for services rendered by a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or chiropractor.
SB 36 – Authorizes Funds for Medicaid Expansion
(Steve Henson, D-Stone Mountain) would authorize the appropriations for the purposes of obtaining federal financial participation for medical assistance payments to providers of Medicaid expansion under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.
SB 56 – Consumer Coverage & Protection for Out-of-Network Medical Care Act
(Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome) Would establish standards for carriers and health care providers with regard to payment under a managed care plan in the provision of emergency medical care and increase transparency for consumers in said plans.

Legislative Updates (Previously Reported-House)

HB 8 – Tax Exemption for Menstrual Products
(Debbie Buckner, D-Junction City) Would exempt sales tax for the sale or use of products with the primary purpose of absorbing or capturing menstrual flow, including but not limited to tampons, menstrual pads and sanitary napkins, panty liners, menstrual sponges, and menstrual cups. Assigned to Ways & Means Committee.
HB 10 – Education on Risks Associated with Tampon Use
(Debra Bazemore, D-Riverdale) Would require sex education and AIDS education instruction to include information on the risks associated with tampon use. Would also encourage physicians and nurses providing a tampon for use by any female patient under his or her care to recite and provide certain written information to such female patient regarding the best practices for and risks associated with the use of tampons.
HB 12 – Quality Basic Education Act
(Rick Williams, R-Milledgeville) Would require every public school to post a sign containing the toll-free telephone number operated by the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Services to receive reports of child abuse or neglect.
HB 17 – Criminal Penalty for Smoking in Vehicle with Child Under 13
(Sandra Scott, D-Rex) Would make it a criminal offense to smoke inside a vehicle with any child under the age of 13. Assigned to Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.
HB 26 –  Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact
(Dave Belton, R-Buckhead) Would allow psychologists licensed in participating states to facilitate telehealth and temporary in-person, face-to-face practice of psychology across jurisdictional boundaries. Substitute version of the bill passed Interstate Cooperation Committee.
HB 37 –  Expand Medicaid Now Act
(Bob Trammell, D-Luthersville) Minority Leader, Representative Bob Trammell, introduced this legislation which would authorize appropriations to draw down federal dollars for Medicaid expansion in Georgia as defined under the Affordable Care Act. It would allow coverage for Georgians up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level. Assigned to Appropriations.
HB 62 – Margie’s Law
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would require that if a patient’s mammogram demonstrates dense breast tissue, the health care facility that conducted the mammogram shall provide notification to the patient. Substitute version of bill passed House Health & Human Services. Passed House, moves to Senate.
HB 63 – Step Therapy Protocols
(Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta) Would require health benefit plans to establish step therapy protocols. Passed House Insurance Committee. Passed House, moves to Senate.
HB 80 – Child Support Cooperation Act of 2019 
(Bill Werkheiser, R-Glennville) Would require individuals to cooperate with the child support enforcement program as a condition of eligibility for food stamps.
HB 84 – Consumer Protections – Health Insurance
(Richard Smith, R-Columbus) Includes several provisions related to proactively informing consumers about out-of-network costs related to healthcare services.
HB 158 – HIV/AIDS Program Access for Medicaid Recipients
(Debora Silcox, R-Sandy Springs) Would ensure that Medicaid recipients have the same access to antiretroviral regimens used to treat HIV and AIDS as to those included in the formulary established for the Georgia AIDS Drugs Assistance Programs. Passed House Health & Human Services.
HB 178 – Establish Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program
(Don Hogan, R-St. Simon’s Island) Would create a unit within the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to support the coordination of procedures for an assisted outpatient treatment program (court-mandated).
HB 187 – Obesity Management Pilot Program
(Katie Dempsey, R-Rome) provide for a pilot program at the Department of Community Health to provide coverage for the treatment and management of obesity and related conditions. Passed House Health & Human Services.
HB 188 – Rescind ‘Positive Alternatives’ Grant Program
(Renitta Shannon, D-Decatur) would repeal the Positive Alternatives for Pregnancy and Parenting Grant Program.

Upcoming Events @ the Capitol

Georgia Women’s Day at the Capitol – This Thursday!
The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute and YWCA of Greater Atlanta have organized the Georgia Women’s Lobby Day on February 21, 2019.
From the organizers:
We invite you to join women from across Georgia to come together for Georgia Women’s Lobby Day on Feb. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Old City Council Chambers in Atlanta City Hall, one block away from the state Capitol. The event will be a woman-centered gathering to showcase, celebrate and inspire Georgia women to flex their civic engagement muscle while the state legislature debates spending and policy priorities.
The event is free, features breakfast and includes a fantastic lineup of speakers. In addition, attendees will:
  • Hear the latest high-level data on the status of women in Georgia related to critical metrics including wealth and wages, health, education, entrepreneurship and more
  • Learn about legislation moving in the state legislature
  • Send a strong message to legislators that women are paying attention and are engaged in the public policy debate
  • Get a taste of how the state legislature works
  • Get briefed on positive, proactive solutions to increase the economic prosperity, safety and well-being of all Georgia women.