Friday, May 20, 2011

Thank You to Georgia Citizens

Last week Governor Nathan Deal signed into law House Bill 87 that I co-authored with many other outstanding legislators which aims to comprehensively address the social and economic consequences of illegal immigration. Over the course of the last several months similar comprehensive efforts in some other states have failed and I have been asked repeatedly “why did Georgia’s effort succeed when other’s failed?” My answer has always been “because the CITIZENS of Georgia demanded action.” This was not an issue led by politicians, but rather by the hard working people of Georgia that recognize the serious consequences of our federal government’s failure to secure our borders. The purpose of this note is to simply say THANK YOU to every Georgia citizen that took the time to write, e-mail, call or visit the Capitol on behalf of this bill. The measure would not have become law without you.

In particular I want to thank the Dustin Inman Society, under the leadership of D.A. King, for its untiring and unflinching work on behalf of this initiative. D.A. has been the staunchest advocate in Georgia for years on behalf of efforts to address the issues posed by illegal immigration and his knowledge and passion are unmatched. There is no one in Georgia that has a greater knowledge of state and federal immigration law enforcement efforts than D.A. and he was integral in the passage of the landmark illegal immigration reform measure SB 529 in 2006 and HB 87 this year. D.A. is the voice for thousands of Georgians that are fed up with their federal government’s failure to enforce the rule of law and I appreciate his friendship and am proud to have worked with him on HB 87 and look forward to working with him in the years ahead as we continue the effort to address this critical issue.

I have never been involved in an issue that had such a high level of citizen involvement and engagement and the measure would not have ever gotten out of committee, much less signed into law, without the persistent lobbying efforts of thousands upon thousands of Georgians. Let me again say thank you to all of the thousands of Georgians that supported this effort.

Matt Ramsey

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rep. Matt Ramsey Comments on Signing of HB 47

Rep. Ramsey (R) watches as Governor Deal signs HB 47
State Representative Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) released the following statement today regarding the governor’s signing of House Bill 47:

“I want to thank Governor Deal for signing this legislation today, and by doing so, providing Georgians with more options in the health insurance market.

“HB 47 places more power into the hands of insurance-buying consumers and makes it possible for us to break down the barriers to competition in the health insurance market in our state. As a result, consumers will see an increase in options and greater latitude in their ability to make decisions that benefit their families. The consumer wins when the forces of the free-market are unlocked on their behalf, and that is exactly what HB 47 provides.”

Representative Matt Ramsey represents the citizens of District 72, which includes portions of Fayette County. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2007, and was elected by the House Majority Caucus to serve as their Caucus Vice-Chairman in 2010. He also serves on the Appropriations, Congressional and Legislative Reapportionment, Judiciary Non-Civil, and Regulated Industries committees.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Affordable Health Care through Free-Market Solutions

The following is a response to opponents of HB 47 and free market health insurance solutions
by Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers and House Majority Caucus Vice-Chair Matt Ramsey

Georgians don’t just need access to affordable health care; Georgians need greater access to meaningful health care. The free-market principles of competition can help drive down costs, provide for greater accessibility, and provide Georgians with more health care options.

It’s true that House Bill 47 will allow Georgia licensed insurance companies to sell products they sell in other states to Georgians. It is also true that cost isn’t the only consideration for the uninsured. Many consumers are stuck in a stagnant health insurance market with fewer carriers and plan choices than their cross-border neighbors. HB 47 would help the uninsured access a more-customized benefits package that meets their health needs.

18% of Georgia’s population has no health insurance. These Georgians are one bad illness or accident away from a complete health and financial disaster. Our state’s uninsured are individuals, families and small business owners that do not have access to insurance through their employer or a family member. The only option they have to purchase insurance is in Georgia’s one-size-fits-all individual market place, which simply lacks the choice and competition to work well for the consumer. HB 47 will unlock the forces of the free market and provide more options for Georgia’s insurance buying consumers.

In addition to bringing greater choices and access to health insurance, HB 47 will also allow Georgia to benefit from innovative plans in other states. Cross-border purchasing of health insurance will cause pressure to create a more competitive Georgia health insurance market. It will bring about quicker access to innovative plans because insurers would face fewer “barriers to entry” into Georgia. In other words, HB 47 will allow Georgians to benefit from new ideas in other states while maintaining access to all of the core consumer and licensing protections important to this state.

If a greater range of plans enters Georgia’s market, it only means that Georgians are freely choosing those plans and becoming insured and it would also reveal that Georgia’s current market place, which inhibits choice, simply is not working. It is also important to remember that this will be Georgia companies selling plans it offers in other states to Georgia consumers. This will ensure Georgia citizens with access to Georgia courts, Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner’s grievance resolution process and all other consumer protections afforded insurance buyers today in Georgia. Simply put, the purpose of insurance regulation is not to achieve fairness or protection for insurers. It is to achieve fairness and protection for Georgians.

It is clear that a one-size-fits-all solution is not working for Georgia’s diverse uninsured population. The Georgia Legislature chose to provide a way for Georgians to gain greater access to more affordable, meaningful coverage without added government regulation.

In the end the debate boiled down to one simple point. Opponents of HB 47 believe the state government is in the best position to decide what is and is not in a consumer’s insurance policy in Georgia. The majority party in the General Assembly, on the other hand, trust Georgia’s citizens to make an informed choice about what insurance option is best for their family or business. We also understand that in the history of humankind it has been proven over and over again that it is a good thing for consumers to have more choice and more competition in a market place. That is exactly what HB 47 will provide.