Panel OKs Perdue health measure

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ATLANTA - - The day President Barack Obama sign into law federal health reform, a Georgia House committee gave its OK to legislation proposed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to allow Georgians to buy health-insurance policies approved by other states.
Approval by the House Insurance Committee, voting 12-7, paves the way for House Bill 1184 to come before the full House for consideration in time for Friday's crossover deadline, or else it would have been dead.
Perdue's floor leader, Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, introduced the bill and explained it to the committee.
"This bill is about one thing, putting more power in the hands of Georgia insurance-buying consumers," he said. "What we think this would do is expand the potential universe of insurance policies available."
Democrats on the committee objected to authorizing the purchase of insurance policies that may not include coverage for all 45 specific conditions mandated under Georgia law for policies sold here now. Ramsey said policies covering all 45 would still be sold in the state and that consumers would have the choice to buy them or not.
The new federal reform law won't fully take effect until 2014. Even then, people will still buy insurance, although it will establish multi-state exchanges as one way they can shop. Perdue's bill would open the choices to policies sold in any state, not just those in the exchanges, and it would take effect this year.


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