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Georgia Senate Passes Legislation To Protect Some Patients From Surprise Medical Bills

AP Photo/John Amis, File

Georgia’s state Senate has passed legislation that would protect some patients from receiving unexpected medical bills. The legislation passed Monday would require insurers in many cases to pay for care by a doctor or at a hospital that is not within their network of medical providers. It also would limit patient liability for costs. Republican state Sen. Chuck Hufstetler of Rome said the bill has been carefully crafted with many hours of work by the governor's office, the House and the Senate. District 117 Representative Houston Gaines is working on the House version of the legislation.

"I'm very excited that the Senate today passed important legislation on surprising billing, moving our state closer to putting legislation forward to address this challenge," Gaines said. "It's certainly something that unfortunately impacts Georgians regularly across our state so I believe this is something we must address this year. It's a top priority of mine. In the house I'm proud to be a co-sponsor on legislation that addresses this challenge so I believe we're headed in the right direction. I look forward to continuing to be a part of the conversation and getting legislation to the governor's desk that addresses this issue across our state."

Lawmakers have been working on legislation to limit surprise billing for several years. But the effort has gained momentum this session.

District 118 Representative Spencer Frye also supports the measure.

“I am grateful that our state government is beginning to take a look at solutions that put patients first,” according to Frye. “For too long our state government has allowed predatory corporate interests to come between doctors and their patients. This type of legislation takes a step closer to making sure patients’ interests are a priority.”

The House version of the measure is HB 888.