Lt. Governor Casey Cagle Healthcare Legislation Introduced

January 31, 2008

(Atlanta, GA) – Today, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle announced the legislation of his two healthcare initiatives: The Georgia Health Marketplace and the Healthcare Safety Net have been formally introduced to the legislature. Senator Greg Goggans and Representative Mickey Channell will carry the Safety Net Clinic legislation and Senator Tommie Williams and Representative Joe Wilkinson will carry the Health Marketplace legislation.

“One of the most pressing issues I hear from Georgians is the high cost of health care.  For too long, consumers have had far too few options when it comes to healthcare purchases.  It's time to give individuals more flexible options and the ability to purchase affordable, portable health insurance through a simplified free-market system.

“The problem we face rests in the fact that more Georgians everyday are going without insurance and basic healthcare services.  This is unacceptable and our legislation will begin meeting the needs of the 1.7 million uninsured citizens in our state.   Seventy-one percent of those uninsured are hardworking adults or their dependents and I’m confident that this legislation will match the amount of coverage a person needs with a cost they can afford.   We must find ways to meet the healthcare needs of all Georgians,” said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. 

The Healthcare Safety Net program will offer an alternative for indigent patients with non-emergency symptoms away from hospital emergency rooms and into more cost efficient clinical situations.  The community-based, volunteer-driven clinics will bring a flexible and local solution to meet the needs of indigent patients who are in need of healthcare services. Communities interested in opening a Safety Net Clinic can apply for partnership planning grants of up to $30,000 a year, which will be made available to start up facilities.  Implementation grants of up to $150,000 a year will be available for existing clinics that serve indigent patients, with the option of a one year renewal of $50,000. The funding will be used primarily to service patient care and clinic services. Clinical services will address conditions most often seen in emergency rooms as well as chronic disease treatment and prevention services.

The Georgia Health Marketplace (GHM) will put healthcare decisions into the hands of consumers through the creation of an online clearinghouse for healthcare products.  Additionally, a sophisticated marketing operation will encourage uninsured Georgians to obtain health insurance and educate them on the importance of being insured.  Multiple insurers, physician groups and state subsidized healthcare plans will be represented and will allow individuals and small business owners to easily access information, compare products, and purchase them from plans or agents.  This streamlined system coupled with newly offered products will produce exciting new choices and savings to all Georgians.