Georgia continues to face challenges in healthcare as a result of over 1.7 million uninsured Georgians, who are more likely to have serious health complications and often seek care in higher cost settings such as hospital emergency rooms. By lowering the number of uninsured citizens, Georgia can significantly lower our overall healthcare costs. However, as a fiscal conservative, Lt. Governor Cagle believes Georgia must look to the private marketplace, rather than the government, to achieve that goal. Simply put, healthcare reform must be built on private insurance rather than bloated new government programs.
In 2008 Lt. Governor Cagle supported Senate Bill 404, the Healthcare Marketplace Act, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tommie Williams (R-Lyons) and sponsored in the House by Rep. Joe Wilkinson (R-Sandy Springs). The goal of SB 404 was to create a market-based system that would lower the cost of insurance through direct competition.
This type of “insurance marketplace” would be a clearinghouse for health insurance products, bringing together insurance providers and consumers in a streamlined, web-based system. Instead of being left on one’s own to navigate the health insurance market, this website would bring all the information together in one place. With just a few clicks of a mouse, people can check the availability and price of a variety of products and select the type of insurance that would work best for them. This site also includes a high-deductible plan that would cover catastrophic claims, a plan which is ideal for young and healthy Georgians who can purchase just the amount of coverage that they need.
Although Senate Bill 404 did not become law, it was used by several national organizations as a model for state level health reform. Additionally, it moved forward a discussion on high-deductible, mandate-free health plans that continues in the legislature today. Lt. Governor Cagle is committed to supporting only those efforts that will keep healthcare decisions in the hands of consumers.