You’ve been hearing wall-to-wall coverage on the disastrous ObamaCare law that seems to get worse by the day. AFP activists have been fighting in states around the Country. Just to our south, AFP Florida activists made over 30,000 phone calls and knocked on thousands of doors to tell people about the disastrous law in the last few weeks. AFP has run over $20 million dollars of ads blasting U.S. senators who voted for the bill and we’re refusing to let them hide.
This week, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius brought the fight to Georgia to pile pressure on Governor Deal and the Georgia General Assembly to expand Medicaid in Georgia, showcasing a reckless willingness to put our State’s over-extended budget on federal life support based on their own empty promises. Her rhetoric blasted Georgia’s refusal to expand the program and issued dire prognostications that the State will lose millions in federal dollars if it does not expand. At least one liberal state-based think tank showed up to the party with the financial gymnastics to suggest that by spending more tax money to expand Medicaid, we will actually raise more state revenue.
So how are AFP Georgia activists responding? With a legislative fight! After lobbying hard throughout the session, hosting rallies and testifying in committees, the legislative effort to pass House Bill 707 and House Bill 990 is raging under the Gold Dome. HB 707 says Georgia will not use our tax dollars to implement the federal law and we will not set up a state health insurance exchange. HB 990 puts the screws to Medicaid expansion by requiring any Medicaid expansion effort in Georgia be approved by the General Assembly, not just the Governor.
Earlier this week, members of our coalition partner group, Georgians For Health Care Freedom, worked with AFP activists to lobby legislators for a hearing on HB 707 in the Senate Insurance and Labor committee. On Tuesday night, I spoke to 20 top activists in Buckhead with marching orders for the week, urging them to light up the phones. Wednesday afternoon we reached out to over 5,000 AFP activists in Valdosta, the home district of Senator Tim Golden. Senator Golden is the Chair of the Insurance and Labor committee. We held a tele-townhall with his constituents, urging hundreds of calls into Senator Golden’s office to encourage him to stay the course and give the vote a DO PASS hearing out of committee and onto the Senate floor. Meanwhile, activists sent action emails in favor of House Bill 990 to members of the Senate Health and Human Services committee, urging Senator Renee Unterman and her colleagues to put the bill to a Senate vote. Simultaneously, we launched an email writing campaign on a lesser known issue in the House Appropriations Health sub-committee where the Department of Community Health is maneuvering under ObamaCare to pass additional supplemental rebate fees – what amount to sales taxes – on Georgia’s pharmaceutical manufacturers. These fees will threaten to cause spiking costs for medicines, job losses and discouragement of business expansion in Georgia as the industry finds itself squeezed from both ends with ObamaCare-induced slashes to Medicaid reimbursement rates and new pay to play taxes on the pharmaceutical products themselves.
As of this report, it’s too early to determine the outcome on HB 990, HB 707 or the supplemental rebates; however, it’s safe to say that AFP Georgia activists are in the thick of the fight.
(I will update with comments throughout the legislative process).