Based on the member-wide survey seeking your input and rankings on key health initiatives, the Board of Directors approved the following legislative priorities as the Georgia General Assembly began their first of a two-year session in mid-January…
- Support higher payment for Medicaid codes on par with Medicare through the Georgia Medicaid budget.
- Support the renewal of the Community Physician Preceptor Tax Credit teaching medical students, physician assistant and nurses.
- Protect physicians’ conversations with patients and oppose any criminalization or penalties for providing medically approved care.
- Oppose any changes of non-physician scope of practice that will diminish quality of care to our Georgia patients.
The Legislative Committee and the Legislative Session Working Group have been meeting weekly to review current legislation and make ongoing recommendations to the Board so that GAFP leaders and our lobbyists have clear marching orders on supporting or opposing certain bills. To date, more than 1,400 bills have been introduced and staff estimates that approximately 40 percent of those bills have a health care component and need to be reviewed, monitored, and brought up for discussion by Georgia Academy leaders.
Here is a snapshot of current legislation that family physicians support/oppose (as of February 24).
|H.B. 19||2023 State Budget with Increase on
Key Medicaid Codes to Medicare Parity
|Patient Centered Physician Coalition of Georgia (which includes the Georgia Academy) testified February 8 on at the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health seeking to increase certain primary care (evaluation and management) and obstetrical global delivery codes up to 2021 Medicare Parity. This request is approximately an increase of $20 million dollars. GAFP lobbyists and other members of the PCPC coalition have been meeting individually with subcommittee members.||X|
|H.B. 37||Medicaid Support||A bill to provide support to the Department of Community Health to mitigate the potential loss of Medicaid coverage caused by the discontinuation of the continuous enrollment of Medicaid that has occurred under the Federal Emergency (Families First Coronavirus Response Act). Assigned to House Public Health Committee.||X|
|H.B. 38||Increase Medicaid Coverage up to
136 percent of the federal poverty level
|Assigned to House Public Health Committee||X|
|H.B. 82||Renewal of Rural Physician Tax Credit
which expires December 2023
|Pending in House Ways and Means Committee||X|
|Increasing the tobacco tax on cigarettes
(H.B. 91) and vaping products (H.B. 192)
|Received a hearing on a Ways and Means Subcommittee on February 22, and the GAFP testified in support of both measures.||X|
|H.B. 214||Allowing APRN/PA to write Schedule
II’s without Physician Supervision
and allow APRN/PAs to approve
handicapped parking sticker
|Pending in House Health and Human Service Committee||X|
|H.B. 308||Renewing the Community Physician
Tax Credit which expires in December 2023
|GAFP testified in support of this renewal in Subcommittee. Passed out of the Way and Means Committee on February 23. It is now pending before the Senate Rules Committee.||X|
|H.B. 343||Will lower RX drug costs via minimizing
rebates that the pharmacy
benefit managers currently receive
|The bill has passed out of House Health and Human Services Committee and is pending in the House Rules Committee.||X|
|S.B. 1||Extension of COVID Vaccine Exemptions||Passed out of the Senate on February 7, now pending in House Public Health Committee.||X|
|S.B. 47||Banning Vaping Under the Indoor Smoking Act||Passed out of Senate on February 15. Now pending in House Public Health Committee.||X|
|S.B. 102||CRNA Independent Practice||
A hearing was held on February 23 in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The GAFP submitted a letter in opposition that stated, in part:
The Georgia Academy opposes any legislation that will dimmish the quality, care, and safety of our patients. This bill will put patients under anesthesia at great risk with less skilled and educated clinicians to oversee surgical procedures that require the patient to receive anesthesia. We believe this bill will not expand health care access, it will do the opposite, as it removes highly trained health care professionals (the physician) from overseeing anesthesia care of our patients.
The bill received a vote to move it to the Senate Rules Committee, and the motion was defeated.