POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Sheldon authors health care bills

One of the most powerful members of the Gwinnett delegation had a big day last week, when she shepherded two bills through the House of Representatives on Crossover Day.

Rep. Donna Sheldon, R-Dacula, authored the two bills in an attempt to improve health care for the state.

"These two important pieces of legislation will help ensure Georgians continue to receive the level of quality medical care they expect," Sheldon said, after the bills passed by large percentages. "Georgia doctors and other medical providers should be able to continue practicing without unnecessary or unexpected intrusions by the federal government."

One of the proposals, House Bill 499, gives Georgia the right to determine the standard of proof for negiglence in medical malpractice cases, not the federal Affordable Care Act, while House Resolution 107 creates a joint House and Senate study committee to evaluate the state's Medicaid program. The 18-member committee is tasked with examining other state's practices and plan for future actions to make sure the state's Medicaid services are sustainable.

"I believe it is important that Georgia chart its own course regarding best practices within its Medicaid program," Sheldon said. "Medicaid receives 14 percent of the state budget, and we cannot sustain our state's growth under the current Medicaid program. The problem is compounded when the federal government attempts to increase state Medicaid costs through unwanted federal mandates like Obamacare."

The bills passed last Thursday, a key date that served as a deadline for legislation to pass one chamber of the legislature to be considered by the other by the end of this year's session.

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