Georgia Senate Passes Health Care Reforms

From a press release:

Today, the Georgia Senate addressed Georgia’s health care crisis with comprehensive reforms aimed at reducing costs, increasing access, and enhancing quality care. The Senate passed multiple pieces of health care legislation, including: SB 18 (Direct Primary Care Act), HB 62 (Margie’s Law), SB 115 and SB 118 (Telemedicine reform), and SB 106 (Patients First Act).

“Georgians deserve a high-quality, affordable health care system and expect their elected leaders to take meaningful steps towards delivering on that goal,” said Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan. “We’ve promised action – and we’re here to deliver. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Kemp on the Patients First Act, but we know that it alone is not a silver bullet. By taking telehealth from pilot status to widespread practice, allowing physicians to provide lower-priced services, and taking steps to increase early detection of breast cancer, we’re advancing comprehensive health reform. There’s still more to do. We will keep working.”

The Direct Primary Care Act (SB 18) – authored by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick (R – 32) – allows physicians to provide direct primary care to patients without having to incur costs of insurance billing and overhead.

Margie’s Law (HB 62) – authored by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R – 43) – requires health care facilities that conduct mammograms to notify a patient when the patient’s mammogram demonstrates the presence of dense breast tissue. 

Medical Practice Act of the State of Georgia (SB 115) – authored by Sen. Renee Unterman (R – 45) – allows for physicians outside of Georgia to be licensed as a telemedicine provider by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. 

The Georgia Telemedicine Act (SB 118) – authored by Sen. Renee Unterman (R – 45) – is a comprehensive reform of Georgia’s outdated telemedicine act. The bill updates the law in an effort to increase the prevalence of telemedicine. 

The Patients First Act (SB 106) – authored by Sen. Blake Tillery (R – 19) – is an initiative of Governor Brian Kemp and would authorize the Governor’s office to seek both 1115 and 1332 waivers to reform Georgia’s Medicaid system and provide better private market insurance plans than currently available under Obamacare.

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Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Nice spin on SB106 in denigrating Obamacare when the primary objective of the bill is to bring Obamacare to Georgia.

The Eiger
The Eiger

You are pretty misinformed if that’s what you think.

This allows states to build a system that is workable for each state instead of a one size fits all strategy which is what Obamacare did. Medicaid isn’t going away. These waivers allow states more flexibility to address specific issues in their state.

Before you talk about republicans this or republicans that take a look at the waivers that other states have already submitted. Oh my goodness! States have been submitting waivers for decades!!! How is that possible?


This allows states to build a system that is workable for each state instead of a one size fits all strategy which is what Obamacare did.

Obamacare allowed states to build their own systems. It also set a baseline on what insurance coverage should entail and maintained a central marketplace for the states that didn’t want to build their own systems.

The Eiger
The Eiger

Again, not correct. It did not allow states to “build their own system.” It mandated coverage and gave zero flexibility from state to state. If it truly allowed states to build their own system then every single state would have opted to build their own system. States have different Medicaid populations and should be allowed flexibility in building their system as you say. That is not what Obamacare allowed.


The notion that states were unable to create or maintain their own systems is belied by Hawaii’s PHCA, which requires employer coverage on employees working at least 20 hours per week (which is less than the federal requirement) and stronger penalties for employers not offering coverage. I think we’re arguing past each other. The ACA mandated a baseline of coverage. In that sense, it limited states from creating systems that would provide less coverage than those baselines. It did not prohibit states from going above those baselines. We could go back and forth on this all day, but lets just… Read more »

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

I regret projecting GaGOP spin onto Lawton’s comment when there wasn’t any spin in his comment.

It’s impressive that after about dozen rural hospital closures since Obamacare was enacted that the GaGOP solution is telemedicine and giving a hack like Kemp carte blanche. Kemp after all earned trust with his office’s secure handling of voter registration data.