ATLANTA (November 14, 2008) – State Senator Judson Hill (R-Marietta) presided over the third Senate Healthcare Transformation Study Committee meeting held yesterday at the Capitol where a grim outlook on the future of federal and state health care was presented. Dennis Smith, who was the Director of the US Medicaid and Medicare Services for the past seven years and now serves as a Senior Fellow in Health Care Reform at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, stressed action needs to be taken now at the state level to ensure the future quality of the state’s Medicaid, SCHIP, and Peachcare programs.
“Doing nothing to address our health care system is simply not an option,” said Sen. Hill. “We need to find sustainable, long-term health care solutions to fund these programs rather than the quick fix budget solutions that seem to take place more often than not. Discovering ways to decrease the number of uninsured citizens, increase support for our physicians, improve patient access to quality care, and ultimately lower health care costs for all taxpayers are simply the right thing to do for the state of Georgia.”
The panel discussed the current state of Georgia’s health care system and several improvement strategies implemented in other states. Mr. Smith brought up the use of benchmark plans, which are customized plans the state could propose to meet the needs of individual patient groups currently on state funded health care. He analyzed several initiatives being used in Vermont such as agency and budget consolidation and giving more authority to individuals about their health care choices. The potential in savings in Vermont may be up to twenty percent.
“It’s imperative to put every option on the table and think outside the box in looking for ways to improve our system,” Sen. Hill added. “The goal of these meetings is to gather new information and innovative ideas so as a legislative body we can generate an effective health care solution that will benefit all Georgians for years to come.”
The Senate Healthcare Transformation Study Committee is being led by Sen. Hill, and includes Senators Don Balfour (R-Snellville), Horacena Tate (D-Atlanta) and Don Thomas (R-Dalton). The Study Committee is responsible for creating and perfecting policy to help make healthcare and health insurance more accessible and affordable for every Georgian. Additional meetings prior to the 2009 Legislative Session are yet to be determined.
Sen. Judson Hill serves as Chairman of Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee and the Republican Caucus Vice Chairman. He represents the 32nd Senate District which includes portions of Cobb and Fulton counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.656.0150 or by e-mail at email@example.com.