Political Notes – It’s official, as Piedmont and Blue Cross finalize new contract

[private]A new three-year contract has been finalized between Blue Cross Blue Shield and Piedmont Healthcare, ending bitter negotiations that lasted nearly a month after the old contract expired April 1.

Piedmont patients who have Blue Cross insurance will now be able to see their doctors without incurring higher out-of-network costs, while Blue Cross policyholders will remain “in network” when they visit Piedmont hospitals.

And tentative agreement had been announced last week by Gov. Nathan Deal, who threatened to take executive action if the companies didn’t strike a deal.

“We know this has been difficult for our patients, and we are glad to finally have a resolution that restores and protects patient care,” said Kevin Brown, Piedmont healthcare president and chief operating officer.

Kemp selects voting commission

Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced Monday his appointees to the Secure, Accessible & Fair Elections (SAFE) Commission, which will study options for a new voting system for the state.

The panel will look at options that include the feasibility of using all hand-marked paper ballots as well as all-electronic machines with a voter-verified paper trail.

Kemp and state Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem) as the co-chairs, and the legislative members include state Rep. James Beverly (D – Macon), state Sen. Lester Jackson (D – Savannah), and state Sen. Brian Strickland (R – McDonough).

Abrams brings out the star power

Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Abram will utilize the star power of actresses Tracee Ellis Ross, Rashida Jones, and Niecy Nash on a campaign jaunt that will stop in Albany, Atlanta, and Middle Georgia.

“These brilliant women understand that our diversity is our strength, and that we must reach out to and uplift the voices of every community in order to create bold change in Georgia,” Abrams said. “Together, we will travel the state to kick off in-person early voting to share my vision: One where Georgians have the opportunity and freedom to thrive.”

Former state senator gets agriculture posting

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has appointed former state senator Tommie Williams of Lyons as minister-counselor for agriculture in the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, Italy.

The U.S. Mission in Rome serves as a link between the U.S. Government and Rome-based international organizations that include the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

McNease appointed district attorney

Governor Nathan Deal has appointed Ronald Victor McNease Jr. as the new district attorney for the Pataula Judicial Circuit, which includes the counties of Clay, Early, Miller, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole, and Terrell.

McNease replaces Craig Earnest, who was appointed a Superior Court Judge in January. A special election to elect a full term district attorney will be held in November.

McNease has been an assistant district attorney for eight years, the last three in the Pataula Circuit.

© 2018 by The Georgia Report



Tags: Blue Cross , Brian Kemp , Piedmont Healthcare , Stacey Abrams , voting machines commission