Chances are if you work for a small business in Georgia, you might not have a health insurance plan available to you or it might be entirely too expensive.

Senate Bill 50, cosponsored by state Sen. Tim Golden, D-Valdosta, could help to change that situation for the millions of Georgians who work for small businesses.

More than 1.4 million people in Georgia don't have health insurance, and that has a deep negative impact on our state. Besides the obvious concerns about diseases and the general health of our citizens, a lack of insurance for so many people usually forces them to rely on government programs or indigent care. They often wait until the last minute and use hospitals and their emergency rooms for conditions that could have been treated earlier in doctors' offices.

Golden's bill would allow insurance companies flexibility in creating health plans and more choice for employers and employees. Small companies could tailor benefit plans and not worry about state-mandated benefits. Ideally, more competition would be created among insurance companies, according to Golden's office.

Golden predicts costs could be decreased by 10 to 20 percent for small businesses and the self-employed if S.B. 50 is approved. The bill was approved 5-1 Monday by the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee.

We urge support for this legislation from other members of the General Assembly. Health care is too important an issue to ignore.



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