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Citizens sound off about healthcare costs

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January 9, 2008

Albany -- One-point-seven million Georgians don't have healthcare insurance, and that's one of the many topics legislators will address starting next week.

Governor Sonny Perdue and legislative leaders flew around the state Wednesday to talk about their agenda.

Complaints about rising health care costs aren't hard to find in Albany.  "When my wife retired at 62, she's on my plan, and it was supposed to go down, but it went up," said former ASU football Coach Hampton Smith. 

"I was supposed to get an MRI today, but they called me today at noon and told me they were going to cancel the MRI waiting to see if my insurance company was going to pay for it or not," said Debbie Baggett of Baggett's Custom Cabinets. 

That's why state leaders will look at several health care proposals. "This should be the main topic," said Smith.

Governor Sonny Perdue favors a health insurance partnership, to help small businesses provide insurance for employees. "We believe if we can help people get insured with a partnership between employers, employees doing their own personal responsibility and our state and federal government, we think this is better for our citizens to have health care on the front end that won't show up at the emergency rooms un-insured."

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and the Senate are proposing a Health Marketplace Exchange. "A free market concept to get more people involved in insurance and being able to receive the insurance that we need at the price by which they can afford."

Also proposed, safety net clinics, health care professionals who volunteer their time to examine the un-insured. They say it's that un-insured population that's making a huge impact on health care prices for the rest.

Georgians say they just need some relief. "Every Year it goes up, every time it rolls around for annual date it goes up and usually about $200 on each one of us," said Buddy Purvis of Purvis Auto Repair. 

It's an issue everyone will be watching closely.

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