Press Release: 'MAG opposing S.B. 8 substitute that would undermine ER care in Georgia'

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The Medical Association of Georgia (MAG) is encouraging Georgians to contact the members of the Georgia House of Representatives’ Rules Committee to urge them to oppose substitute language for S.B. 8, a bill that was originally designed to protect patients by closing the “surprise health insurance coverage gap” in emergency care settings.  

“Eliminating the surprise health insurance coverage gap has been one of MAG’s priorities during this year’s legislative session,” says MAG President Steven M. Walsh, M.D. “Unfortunately, this substitute would create a system that lacks transparency and would undermine the state’s health care system, especially in rural areas, as physicians who care for patients in ER settings who discover that they aren’t part of an insurer’s network would be forced to accept inadequate and unsustainable pay.”

Dr. Walsh also points out that, “MAG has been working with other physician groups since the middle of last year to develop model legislation (i.e., S.B. 277) that would close the surprise coverage gap and solidify Georgia’s heath care system in a fair and equitable way.” 

He adds that, “MAG continues to promote the 80th percentile of the FAIR Health database as the basis for paying physicians who provide care in ER settings on an out-of-network basis. This approach has a proven track record with the workers’ compensation system in the state.”

And citing a legal opinion that MAG recently had done, Dr. Walsh emphasizes that, “The S.B. 8 substitute is clearly unconstitutional.” 

Finally, the Roswell anesthesiologist says that he is disappointed that, “Health insurers have repeatedly refused to provide MAG with the medical specialty code information it needs to evaluate S.B. 8’s billing methodology.”

The House Rules Committee is expected to consider the substitute when it meets tomorrow, Wednesday, March 22.  

With more than 7,800 members, MAG is the leading voice for physicians in Georgia. MAG is an advocate for physicians in every practice setting and specialty. MAG’s membership has increased for six years in a row. Go to www.mag.org for additional information.

Click here to contact the members of the House Rules Committee.

Click here for the S.B. 8 substitute legal opinion.