This week, I will continue my discussion of healthcare and public safety legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2017.
Notable healthcare legislation passed this session includes:
• Senate Bill 103, which seeks to reduce the cost of prescription drugs in Georgia by restricting certain actions taken by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM). PBMs have come under scrutiny recently for instances where their contracts with pharmacies have resulted in higher drug costs for patients.
Under Senate Bill 103, PBM’s cannot penalize a pharmacist for disclosing a cheaper, generic option to a patient.
This bill also seeks to prevent “copay claw-backs,” in which a patient’s copay is far higher than the cost of their generic drug, and the PBM receives the difference in cost as profit.
• Senate Bill 200 will allow pharmacists to synchronize a patient’s medications onto the same refilling schedule. This will hopefully allow fewer trips to the pharmacy for patients.
• Senate Bill 206 requires health benefit insurance policies provide coverage for one hearing aid per hearing impaired child, not to exceed $3,000 per hearing aid. It is my belief that this bill – by providing early intervention for hearing impaired children – will produce positive results for our children and reduce the costs borne by the state in the long run.
• House Bill 198 states that if a local board of education provides information about immunizations and infectious diseases, then the school board must include information about influenza and influenza vaccines.
A number of additional healthcare-related issues will continue to be studied over the interim, including the issue of surprise medical billing. In addition, I am very encouraged by passage of House Resolution 389, which creates the House Rural Development Council. This Council, created with the full support of Speaker David Ralston, will work to identify policies and ideas to enhance economic opportunity across the entire state of Georgia, including access to quality healthcare in rural areas. I will serve on this Council in an ex-officio capacity, and applaud the Speaker’s leadership on this important issue.
With respect to public safety, I was encouraged by the passage of House Resolution 282, which creates the House Study Committee on Distracted Driving.
The recent increase in traffic-related deaths is very concerning to me and to my colleagues in the House.
As a result, this study committee will consider solutions to the increasing concerns caused by distracted driving.
On Monday, I attended the Blue Mile Kick Off Rally to support Statesboro in the America’s Best Communities competition.
A few days later, it was great to learn that Statesboro won $1 million in this competition for our Blue Mile revitalization project on South Main Street.
If I can be of service to you or your family, please do not hesitate to call (404.656.5052), email (Jon.Burns@house.ga.gov) or engage on Facebook.
House Majority Leader