Senate passes three major healthcare bills

[private]The state Senate passed a trio of bills Wednesday intended to address major healthcare issues in Georgia.

Senators voted 50-3 to adopt SB 118, which raises from six years to 12 years the age limit for children with autism spectrum disorder who are covered by private insurance plans.

The State Health Benefits Plan, which provides health insurance coverage for teachers, state employees and their dependents, also provides autism coverage up to the age of 21.

“Georgia has the lowest cap in the nation at six years old (for private coverage),” said Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford). “To me that’s a travesty. Raising it to 12 years old is a good compromise. Will it in the future go up to 18 or 21 years old? I hope so.”

The Senate voted 53-1 to pass SB 357, which would create a Health Coordination and Innovation Council to “coordinate the major functions of the state’s health care system, and develop innovative approaches for stabilizing costs while improving access to quality care.”

“We need somebody to say, these are the healthcare priorities for Georgia,” said Sen. Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge). “We’ve got to collaborate, we’ve got to innovate if we’re going to change the outcomes for Georgia healthcare.”

Senators voted 53-0 for SB 352, a bill that attempts to deal with the state’s opioid crisis and prohibits the practice of “patient brokering.”

SB 352 provides that the governor will appoint a director of substance abuse, addiction, and related disorders – the equivalent of a drug czar — who would oversee a newly established Commission on Substance Abuse and Recovery.

The three bills now move to the House of Representatives for consideration.

© 2018 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: autism coverage , healthcare policy , opioid crisis