Blog (March 2014)
The 2014 Georgia Legislative Session has ended. Thank you to so many of you for reaching out to your legislators during this past session to let them know that covering Georgia’s uninsured and improving access to health care for all Georgians are important priorities for you. Thank you to the dozens of committed advocates who joined us for Cover Georgia day at the Capitol, and thank you to the more than 8,000 of you who signed the Cover Georgia petition to express your support for the Medicaid expansion.
This was a disappointing legislative session for health care consumers. HB 990, which prohibits Medicaid expansion without prior legislative approval, and the portions of HB 707 (amended onto HB 943) that would prevent state entities from serving as health insurance navigators, prohibit the state from setting up a health insurance exchange, and limit the ability of state and local employees to advocate for the Medicaid expansion passed through the General Assembly. While some of the most harmful elements of HB 707 were removed before its final passage, this bill sends a horrible message to Georgia health care consumers who seek information about how to enroll in and utilize the new health insurance options available to them through the Affordable Care Act.
On the upside, hundreds of Georgians are enrolling each day in health insurance. At last count, more than 139,000 Georgians have enrolled in health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, and Georgians for a Healthy Future is actively working alongside our coalition partners to maximize enrollment leading up to the March 31st deadline. And despite the setbacks of the 2014 Legislative Session, the Cover Georgia coalition will continue to advocate for covering our state’s uninsured, strengthening our state’s health care delivery system, and growing the economy by implementing the Medicaid expansion.
Thank you again for your continued support and advocacy!
Action Alert—Stop HB 707!
House Bill 707 would prohibit the state of Georgia from leveraging federal dollars to cover the uninsured and from providing consumer assistance to Georgians enrolling in health insurance. HB 707 was designed and promoted by the tea party to prevent hard-working Georgians from accessing health care, and it is in danger of becoming law in Georgia. We need your voice! Georgia citizens deserve better than to have the door slammed in their face when they seek out information about how to cover themselves and their family. Our state’s struggling hospitals and uninsured citizens deserve an honest policy discussion about Medicaid expansion, not a gag order on state and local employees. Call Lt. Governor Casey Cagle at 404-656-5030 and your state senator (locate your state senator here) and ask them to oppose HB 707.
House Bill 707 would:
- Prohibit any state agency, department or political subdivision from using resources or spending funds to advocate for the expansion of Medicaid. This would stifle conversation and analysis about how to leverage federal dollars from covering the state’s uninsured.
- Prohibit the state of Georgia from running an insurance exchange or accepting federal dollars related to an exchange. This broad language could stop quality local programs that provide assistance to vulnerable Georgians getting coverage through the exchange.
- End the University of Georgia Health Navigator Program. Currently, the University of Georgia is providing enrollment assistance to consumers seeking out health insurance with federal grant money. HB 707 would prohibit UGA from sitting down with uninsured consumers and helping them enroll in a private health insurance plan.
- Prohibit the Commissioner of Insurance from investigating or enforcing any alleged violation of federal health insurance requirements mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Under HB 707, if a consumer has been treated unfairly by their health insurance company, they may have no state recourse.
HB 707 has already passed the state House of Representatives and may be up for a vote in the State Senate early next week. We need your voice to prevent this harmful bill from becoming law!
Join members of the Cover Georgia coalition at the Capitol on Tuesday March 11 in advocating for expanded access to coverage for over 500,000 by expanding Medicaid.
Georgia has the opportunity to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of working adults who make less than $11,670 a year. Money has already been set aside at the federal level to cover 100% of the cost of this expansion for the first three years and 90% in future years. Expanding Medicaid would create 56,000 new jobs in Georgia and would generate $6.5 billion per year in economic activity.
Don’t let Georgia’s hard-earned tax dollars go to other states. Medicaid expansion is a bargain that Georgians can’t afford to pass up. Let your legislators know that you want them to put people before politics! Join us at the Capitol!
Here’s the day’s agenda:
9:00am to 10:00am Advocacy training–Room 515 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building (18 Capitol Square SW, Atlanta, GA, 30334)
10:00am to 11:00am Rally on the steps of the Capitol (Washington Street)
11:00am to 12:00pm Talk with legislators
12:00pm to 12:30pm De-brief–Room 515 Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Register here so we can get a proper head count. Thanks!