“I’ve worked on a lot of legislation, but some of them are special,” Cooper said. “This one is special. … Let’s put it this way: It’s the right thing to do, and I’m glad we’re doing it.”
Georgia has consistently ranked among the worst U.S. states for maternal deaths. Mortality rates are particularly dismal for Black women: They are three to four times more likely to die when they become mothers in Georgia than white women.
House Bill 1114 would also clear the way for Medicaid coverage for lactation care and services to pregnant and lactating women and their children.
“With that piece of legislation we’re going to enhance access to quality and timely care for mothers on Medicaid,” Kemp said.
Kemp also signed House Bill 888, which intends to prevent people from receiving high hospital bills when they’re unknowingly treated by out-of-network doctors in an emergency situation. HB 888 would require patients to pay no more than their deductible, co-pay or other in-network payment determined by their plan.
“HB 789′s transparency requirement will allow individuals or company HR departments the ability to check out a plan’s network before making a choice of insurance plans, so they will finally know what they’re actually buying,” said state Rep. Mark Newton, an Augusta Republican who sponsored the bill. “Having this information and this choice will also encourage insurance plans to offer the full network coverage of hospitals and the doctors who provide the care, thereby eliminating surprise out-of-network bills for Georgians.”
After a ribbon cutting for Kennestone’s new emergency department, Kemp thanked health care providers for the work they’ve done to assist during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Without question these are difficult times that we’re in,” Kemp said, “but I will tell you today is a bright spot as we celebrate these new laws to ensure a safer, healthier and more prosperous tomorrow.”