Rep. Cooper to chair subcommittee on key HC issues

The office of Georgia Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) distributed the following press release on April 13…

State Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta), chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, today announced that she will oversee the House Health and Human Services Subcommittee on Opioid Alternatives, E-Prescribing, Harm Reduction, Step Therapy and Bariatric Surgery Benefits for State Health Benefit Plan participants.

“In addition to the devastating number of lives that are being lost, the opioid overdose epidemic is costing our state millions of dollars in medical treatment and lost economic productivity,” said Rep. Cooper. “One of the steps that we should clearly take is to get health insurers to cover less-addictive and alternative treatments.”

The subcommittee will hold meetings during the summer and fall to evaluate legislation Rep. Cooper and others introduced during the 2018 legislative session to address health care issues, including the opioid misuse epidemic, Step Therapy reform, State Health Benefit Plan bariatric surgery coverage for patients and infections associated with HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C that result from syringe use.

“E-prescribing can also become a useful tool for physicians and other health care providers to reduce opioid misuse, but there are a number of significant barriers to allow prescriptions and e-prescribe that we need to address before that can reach its full potential,” said Rep. Cooper. “Drug abuse and misuse also often exposes our citizens to infections from HIV and Hepatitis B and C, so we can make a huge impact by offering syringe services programs at the point of care, especially when it comes to underserved populations, including education, counseling, testing and drug abuse treatment and recovery.”

“The House acted on several meaningful measurers during the 2018 legislative session, and those measurers fell short in the Senate on the final day of the session,” added Rep. Cooper. “I want to ensure we keep them at the forefront of the Health Committee as we continue to look at ways to improve access for patients in the state of Georgia.”

The subcommittee will make legislative recommendations for the 2019 legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly.