Two days after the Senate tabled a bill that would have allowed the interstate purchase of cheaper health insurance, Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) had it placed at the end of the Crossover Day calendar.
And SB 407 passed 29-16.
“My focus is on those people with no access to health care and no access to mandates,” Hill said. “If we give them the opportunity to buy affordable health insurance those people will be better off.”
Hill argued that his insurance bill would allow Georgians with no insurance to be able to other states and buy it cheaper. He said the bill would “ignite competition,” to bring insurance rates down. Wyoming is the only state in the county that currently allows the practice.
“This bill is for the big insurance companies,” said Steve Thompson (D-Marietta). “I have seen every major insurance lobbyist in the state out there in the hall today.”
Thompson was livid after the vote, which closed out Crossover Day in the Senate. He tried to call for reconsideration, from Senate President Casey Cagle. But Cagle ignored Thompson and called on Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock, who immediately called for Senate adjournment.
“I had my hand up way before his and (Cagle) knows,” Thompson said, adding that he felt he had the votes for reconsideration.
Wednesday’s move to table the bill was led by the women in the Senate, who claimed that the bill would erode health care and insurance protections that women fought for like coverage for pregnancy complications or Chlamydia screenings.
“This has taken Georgia in the wrong direction,” said Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta). “We need more regulations, not less.”
On Wednesday, Orrock, along with Republican Renee Unterman led a bi-partisan charge to squash the bill on behalf of women.
But by Friday, Unterman, the only female Republican in the Senate, had bailed and joined forces with her GOP colleagues. She offered an amendment, that she said would protect women’s mandates.
“She has indicated that she would oppose the bill if the language on the amendment is stripped out,” Orrock said. “She was doing the best she could to stop a freight train
Earlier in the day, Hill, who has emerged as the Senate’s most vocal critic of national health care reform, passed SB 399, which prohibits any state agency or department from implementing any part of the federal plan without approval from the General Assembly.
“We have worked hard to develop a world-class health care system here in Georgia. Any implementation of the federal plan has the severe chance of undermining our progress towards a better system for Georgians, aside from the fact it infringes on state powers,” Hill said. “My bill places a strict set of parameters before any state agency if they decide to go forward with adopting the federal policy without making a significant case before the legislature.”
Both bills now head to the Georgia House of Representatives.