It was a meaningful week in the Senate with several major health initiatives.
House Bill 159 – Adoption Changes – passed the Senate 53 – 2 and Governor Deal will soon sign.
Some of the key provisions include shortening the time allowed for the birth mother to reverse her decision to give her child up for adoption. It was up to 10 days and now it will be up to four days. The birth mother will be able to be reimbursed from the adoptive parents for enumerated living expenses in private and agency adoptions. There will be a study committee on this subject to make sure costs are not excessive.
Senate Bill 118 – Autism - Current law requires health insurance policies to provide at least $30,000 of annual coverage for applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy for children six years of age and younger when treating autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This legislation expands this coverage to individuals 12 years of age and younger.
Senate Bill 352 – This legislation creates a Commission on Substance Abuse and Recovery; makes patient brokering unlawful; and deems excessive or fraudulent billing of drug testing to be fraud. The Commission will develop additional educational programming for middle and high school students on substance abuse. The statistics on this opioid crisis are alarming.
Senate Bill 357 – The Health Act – In response to Congressional failure, this bill creates the Health Coordination and Innovation Council and the Health System Innovation Center. These groups will identify the health priorities of the State and develop new approaches for financing and delivering health care.
Senate Bill 338 – This legislation allows the legislature to “check” the executive branch from ruling by executive orders, rules, or regulations beyond the authority of what the legislature intended.
We have ten legislative days left for a bill to still be alive if it passes one of the chambers. Crossover day is scheduled for Feb. 28.
I am still pushing for an income tax cut and on Thursday I introduced my “needs-based aid” legislation for college tuition and mandatory fees. We cannot continue our economic prosperity without an educated workforce from our entire population.
Please feel free to continue to contact me with your comments and questions.