Sen. Renee Unterman spent last week in Washington, talking about two of the issues closest to her heart with federal leaders.
The Buford state senator spoke at a White House event, asking states to strengthen human trafficking laws at the National Conference of State Legislators fall forum.
"I am deeply appreciative of the NCSL for hosting this meaningful discussion and recognizing the continued need for protecting women and children against human trafficking," Unterman said. "It is my sincere hope that legislators and interested stakeholders will be empowered with the tools and resources necessary to bring about positive reform in their respective states."
During her time in Washington, Unterman participated in a series of events aimed at combating human slavery, including the NCSL human trafficking forum, a luncheon with actress and former U.N. goodwill ambassador Mira Sorvino and a meeting with one of the nation's leading human trafficking advocacy organizations, Polaris Group.
She also met with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Georgia.
"The establishment of government-run health care is new territory for the states and requires a strong, interconnected relationship with our friends in Washington," said Unterman, who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. "I am very pleased that Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is open to receiving feedback as we begin implementing key provisions within the Affordable Care Act. Together, we can provide affordable, quality health care for the people of Georgia."
Among the topics the two discussed were the law's individual mandate, goals for states to run their own health care exchanges, Medicaid expansion and state poverty levels, waivers and a methodology for a transition to a new health care model. The two also talked about learning from other states, incuding innvation models in Arkansas, Massachusetts and Oregon.
One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act is the requirement for health insurance exchanges -- online marketplaces to compare and purchase insurance policies -- to be operated in all 50 states However, last month Gov. Nathan Deal informed the federal government he did not intend to set up a plan for Georgia, citing cost and a lack of flexibility. That means the state's exchange will be run by the federal government.
In a press release, Unterman said she is opposed to the Medicaid expansion and the takeover by the federal government running state health insurance infrastructure.
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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