Panel blocks health coverage expansion

Mandate commission nixes autism, children's hearing aids, prescribed diets

Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 8:39 AM
Last updated 3:33 PM
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ATLANTA — A commission created to review requiring new coverages on health plans voted overwhelmingly Monday to reject three proposed mandates.

The appointee doctors, administrators, insurance executives and legislators voted to recommend that the General Assembly not order individual and small-group plans to cover early treatment of autism, children’s hearing aids and physician-prescribed diets. The vote was the outcome of hearings in which commission members heard tearful testimony from parents, patients and medical professionals about the need for each of these treatments.

The vote, though, hinged on costs.

Rep. Richard Smith, who chairs the commission and the House Insurance Committee, said before the votes that the new coverage requirements would only apply to individual and small-group plans sold through the federally run health exchange, not to large companies’ self-insured plans that cover three out of every four insured Georgians. Plus, Georgia taxpayers would have to subsidize the cost of the increase for policyholders earning less than $95,000 for a family of four.

“That is an issue, especially when you consider the uproar that we’ve been listening concerning people whose premiums have doubled and tripled,” said Smith, R-Columbus. “They’re upset about a lot of things as far as insurance premiums.”

Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens summed it up before the voting.

“Under the Affordable Care Act, the state has to pick up any new mandates that are added at this time to the qualified medical plans, and this can be very, very expensive to the state,” he said. “... All mandates cost.”

Supporters of the proposals briefly argued that requiring early autism coverage, children’s hearing aids and prescribed diets would result in savings in the long run.

“Ultimately, this is going to save $1 million per child,” said Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, the Senate sponsor of the early autism bill.

Addressing the condition as a toddler is easier and less expensive than waiting until school age.

Rep. Ben Harbin, the House sponsor, said that the Legislature had mandated other coverage such as prostate and breast-cancer screening with the same goal of long-term savings. Plus, people’s quality of life can be impacted by the mandates.

“Sometimes, we have to step up and do the right thing,” said Harbin, R-Evans.

Smith said the commission vote did not kill the legislation, but he said if the bills are changed to address any of the objections, then the commission would review the revisions before the House or Senate ultimately decides.

Comments (17) Add comment
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Bizkit
33071
Points
Bizkit 11/19/13 - 10:16 am
3
3
Well if the state wasn't

Well if the state wasn't wasting so much money by giving it to Azziz to waste on name changes, legal battles, etc. they would likely have plenty of money.

KSL
134766
Points
KSL 11/19/13 - 04:13 pm
3
2
"Sometimes, we have to step

"Sometimes, we have to step up and do the right thing." Interesting comment, considering. the source.

Little Lamb
47012
Points
Little Lamb 11/19/13 - 10:31 am
3
1
Thank Goodness

Thank goodness for fiscal sanity on the part of the commission. We have got to stop this demand for others to pay one's expenses.

Diets? Give me a break!

Topsy Krets
99
Points
Topsy Krets 11/19/13 - 11:21 am
0
0
LL, I guess you've never had
Unpublished

LL, I guess you've never had Chrons disease or something that requires a special diet. But you have had a good helping of judgemental pie.

Topsy Krets
99
Points
Topsy Krets 11/19/13 - 11:21 am
0
0
LL, I guess you've never had
Unpublished

LL, I guess you've never had Chrons disease or something that requires a special diet. But you have had a good helping of judgemental pie.

Topsy Krets
99
Points
Topsy Krets 11/19/13 - 11:21 am
0
0
LL, I guess you've never had
Unpublished

LL, I guess you've never had Chrons disease or something that requires a special diet. But you have had a good helping of judgemental pie.

Topsy Krets
99
Points
Topsy Krets 11/19/13 - 11:21 am
0
0
LL, I guess you've never had
Unpublished

LL, I guess you've never had Chrons disease or something that requires a special diet. But you have had a good helping of judgemental pie.

Topsy Krets
99
Points
Topsy Krets 11/19/13 - 11:21 am
0
0
LL, I guess you've never had
Unpublished

LL, I guess you've never had Chrons disease or something that requires a special diet. But you have had a good helping of judgemental pie.

Topsy Krets
99
Points
Topsy Krets 11/19/13 - 11:21 am
0
0
LL, I guess you've never had
Unpublished

LL, I guess you've never had Chrons disease or something that requires a special diet. But you have had a good helping of judgemental pie.

Topsy Krets
99
Points
Topsy Krets 11/19/13 - 11:21 am
0
0
LL, I guess you've never had
Unpublished

LL, I guess you've never had Chrons disease or something that requires a special diet. But you have had a good helping of judgemental pie.

GACopprhed
2136
Points
GACopprhed 11/19/13 - 11:32 am
3
5
You'll end up paying for it
Unpublished

You'll end up paying for it anyway, when these families can't afford the proper treatment and have to declare bankruptcy, who will absorb the losses? YOU! This is insanity, hurting decent people for political motives.
May you all receive what you give.....nothing.

nocnoc
45116
Points
nocnoc 11/19/13 - 11:45 am
2
1
Mixed feeling on this...

but given the OBAMACARE mandates kicking in, it would put Georgians on the hook for too much.

As citizens, YES, there needs to be compassion for the less fortunate.
But forcibly taking greater amounts of $$$$ from working people to support the growing needs of others is not the proper way to accomplish this.

There must be a limit to forced Charity Taxes.

Because it is well understood GOVERNMENT is NOT as cost effective when involved in handling $$$$.

Last time I checked for every $1 collected, 48 cents was delivered in help. That is a 52% Government Administrative Fee and by IRS rules the Government itself would not qualify as a legitimate charity.

Any real Charity gets more delivered to the needy person.

Little Lamb
47012
Points
Little Lamb 11/19/13 - 11:54 am
3
1
Double Whammy

From the story:

Plus, Georgia taxpayers would have to subsidize the cost of the increase for policyholders earning less than $95,000 for a family of four.

See, that's the rub. Families earning over $95,000 would have to pay for their own premium increase, and subsidize the premium increases to those families earning under $95,000. It's double taxation.

Why in the world does ACA find it important to subsidize premiums on families earning $50,000, $60,000, $70,000, $80,000, $90,000 a year? It's insane.

And the numbers will be higher next year!

allhans
24035
Points
allhans 11/19/13 - 01:30 pm
2
1
Does anyone have numbers on

Does anyone have numbers on the bankruptcy thing? I keep hearing about it but have my doubts that it is a big problem.
I have an ex-coworker living in Aiken County and filed bankruptcy to get rid of a $20,000 credit card bill, $25,000 owed to University Hospital and numerous other debts. Would this count?

Little Lamb
47012
Points
Little Lamb 11/19/13 - 01:58 pm
2
1
Mortgage

Allhans, did your friend who declared bankruptcy have a mortgage, or was he a renter?

specsta
6595
Points
specsta 11/19/13 - 04:08 pm
2
4
Mean, Mean, Just Plain Old Mean

Disgusting. People who need help should get it.

I would love to see a "commission" convene and REJECT spending $20,000 per inmate annually to lock up non-violent offenders. Imagine if those funds went to actually help people.

Little Lamb
47012
Points
Little Lamb 11/19/13 - 04:15 pm
3
2
Old Fashioned Way

Specsta posted:

People who need help should get it.

The trouble with mandated health insurance coverage is that people who do not need help also "get it" at the expense of the entire taxpaying population. There is no means testing for the benefit.

You could have a child diagnosed with autism and make a million dollars a year; and if this expansion of health insurance mandated coverage went through, you would be subsidized by middle income taxpayers.

That would be mean to me.

KSL
134766
Points
KSL 11/19/13 - 04:16 pm
3
3
Imagine if non-violent

Imagine if non-violent offenders didn't offend.

KSL
134766
Points
KSL 11/19/13 - 04:18 pm
3
3
Imagine if people didn't have

Imagine if people didn't have children they could not support.

CobaltGeorge
165061
Points
CobaltGeorge 11/19/13 - 06:17 pm
2
2
Imagine

if we didn't have the King SMNCICBHO(M) Hammer & Sickle man who started all this mess.

KSL
134766
Points
KSL 11/19/13 - 08:09 pm
3
2
GAC

We have to pay higher prices for goods because of shoplifting. We have to pay higher taxes because of crime. If only everyone who is capable of taking care of themselves (NOT THOSE WHO ARE NOT ARE ABOVE DUE TO REAL PHYSICAL DEFECTS) would do so.

We have a whole class of lazy rotten people who won't take advantage of the almost free education available to them. But they are oh so quick take advantage of the freebies that cause no more effort than signing up and partaking of them.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 11/19/13 - 08:15 pm
1
1
"the new coverage

"the new coverage requirements would only apply to individual and small-group plans sold through the federally run health exchange, not to large companies’ self-insured plans that cover three out of every four insured Georgians."

So does this mean if I had a child that needed the coverage, it would not be mandated for my company to provide such coverage through my self insured plan, so I couldn't get the coverage I needed, BUT, I would have to pay for it so that someone covered through the federally run health exchange could have the coverage?

Did I read this wrong?

allhans
24035
Points
allhans 11/19/13 - 08:18 pm
1
1
Little Lamb...Owner, but the

Little Lamb...Owner, but the house was in the midst of foreclosure.

KSL
134766
Points
KSL 11/19/13 - 11:57 pm
3
2
At GA cop

I suppose you give a pass to people who have not been reared to understand that we all need to use our abilities to not have to rely on government to try care of our needs other than those that were those of the federal government.

Bizkit
33071
Points
Bizkit 11/20/13 - 10:48 am
1
0
The Federal govt has a long,

The Federal govt has a long, long, long, long, ad infinitum history of mandating new federally subsidized programs that they cut off the funds and leave the State on the hook to run the programs. Democrats could care less about finances (either don't pay their taxes or benefit the most from the give aways) because they are all about ideology and agenda-even Obama admits he would reduce govt revenues and let people suffer for "his" ideology of "fairness". Dems and Reps seem sold out to protect the interest of the wealthy-and neither really ever do anything to help the poor. It is always a politically motivated show that doesn't change the poverty percentage. Poverty is increasing under a progressive president with a progressive agenda. African-americans were moving ahead, but now under a progressive agenda they have fallen below hispanics and back into 60's poverty.

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