Republican Lawmakers Should Stop Playing Primary Games with Georgians’ Access to Health Insurance
Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman Porter asks Georgia GOP to act in best interests of Georgians by tabling HB 707 and HB 990
Atlanta, GA – This session, Georgia Republican legislators have introduced multiple pieces of legislation to block the implementation of health care reform. Two bills designed to drastically reduce consumers’ ability to learn about and access health care coverage through the exchange. Both HB 707 and HB 990 have already passed the House and now they await a vote in the Senate.
If HB 707 were to pass the Senate this week, it would prohibit any state agency from using resources or spending funds to advocate for the expansion of Medicaid, prohibit insurance navigators—like the UGA Health Navigator Program—from directing consumers to the federal exchange, and the bill would prohibit the Commissioner of Insurance from investigating or enforcing any violations of the ACA—including discrimination by insurance companies based on pre-existing conditions.
“This seems pretty simple to me—Georgia Republicans would rather watch uninsured Georgians get sicker and sicker than to admit there are popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are already saving lives,” said Democratic Party of Georgia Chair and former State House Speaker Pro Tem DuBose Porter. “HB 707 says it’s okay to charge women higher premiums than men. HB 707 codifies what Republican Ralph Hudgens has said—that having breast cancer, asthma, or diabetes is ‘your fault.’ HB 707 says that it’s okay for insurance companies to spend whatever amount of your premium dollars they want on bureaucracy and bonuses.”
Republican state lawmakers have enabled Gov. Nathan Deal’s desire to shirk responsibility by introducing HB 990. Currently, Gov. Deal has the ability to broaden access to health care for over 600,000 Georgians and throw a critical lifeline to struggling rural hospitals with one pen stroke by expanding Medicaid. Yet, with HB 990—crafted and strengthened by the governor’s own staff—Georgia Republicans have instead thrown an Election Year lifeline to Deal by removing his authority to expand Medicaid and giving it to the state legislature.
“There is no accountability with this governor,” said Chairman Porter. “Sure, solving Georgia’s health care problems isn’t easy—but if Nathan Deal doesn’t want the responsibility of governing, he should stick to the salvage business.”
Georgia Democrats have repeatedly called for Gov. Deal and the Georgia Republican Party to work with Democratic lawmakers to expand access to affordable health care and fix our state’s broken system. Instead, Republicans have introduced these dangerous pieces of legislation, said that rural hospitals “need to close” and even compared hospitals to crack addicts.
“If Nathan Deal and his Party want to act in the best interest of Georgians, they would table both of these bills,” concluded Chairman Porter. “Rural Georgians shouldn’t be forced to drive an extra thirty miles in their hour of need just because Nathan Deal let their hospital go belly up. These nightmare scenarios are happening right now and Georgia Republicans seem just fine with it as long as their chest-beating ekes out a few extra votes in their primary.”