Political Notes — Deal intervenes again in Blue Cross-Piedmont dispute

[private]Gov. Nathan Deal has again urged two of Georgia’s largest healthcare providers to sit down and hammer out a deal that ends the long-running contract dispute between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and Piedmont Healthcare.

Deal met with executives from Blue Cross and Piedmont Monday and did some jaw-boning to try to make them come together by Tuesday.

The two sides have been unable to agree on a new contract to replace the old one that expired April 1, leaving an estimated 650,000 Georgians having to pay out-of-network costs if they use Piedmont.

An important piece of leverage the state has would be to authorize a “re-enrollment” period for state employees on the State Health Benefits Plan that would let Blue Cross members choose a new insurer.

No word yet from the negotiating table in what has historically been a hard-nosed bargaining session.

Planned Parenthood endorses Abrams

Planned Parenthood Southeast has endorsed former legislator Stacey Abrams in the race for governor of Georgia.

“Abrams will fight against any attacks on Planned Parenthood and protect access to reproductive health and rights across the state,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “For years, Stacey Abrams has been a leading voice for reproductive right and justice in Georgia and across the country.”

“Throughout my career, I have worked alongside Planned Parenthood to protect and expand access to healthcare and ensure economic security for all Georgians,” Abrams said. “As governor, I will continue to ensure women have access to a full range of reproductive health services so they have the freedom and opportunity to thrive.”

Planned Parenthood bypassed former legislator Stacey Evans, the other Democrat in the race, even though Evans has a long history as a lawmaker of opposing restrictions on reproductive rights.

Harassment complaint against Shafer dismissed

The Georgia Senate Ethics Committee last week dismissed a sexual harassment complaint filed by a lobbyist against state Sen. David Shafer.
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“Based on the findings of fact reported by the independent counsel, the committee found that there is a lack of credible evidence to support the allegations in the complaint,” said a letter from committee chairman, state Sen. Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge). “Further, the evidence contradicted the essential elements of the complaint.

“As I have said from the beginning, these allegations are false,” Shafer said. “As much as I am happy that my name has been cleared, the sad reality is this has taken away from the real suffering of actual victims of sexual harassment.”

Shafer is currently running for lieutenant governor.

© 2018 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Blue Cross , David Shafer , Nathan Deal , Piedmont , Planned Parenthood , Stacey Abrams