ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp signed a package of a dozen bills related to health care Tuesday, including legislation providing welfare benefits to pregnant women.

Capitol Beat News Service
This story also appeared in Capitol Beat News Service

“We’re taking important steps to improve access to and quality of health care,” Kemp said during a signing ceremony inside the Georgia Capitol.

Federal law currently allows low-income pregnant women to receive cash aid through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, but Georgia law does not. The General Assembly overwhelmingly passed House Bill 129 to rectify that.

Kemp pledged in his State of the State address in January to push for legislation extending TANF benefits to pregnant women. The bill was introduced by freshman state Rep. Soo Hong, R-Lawrenceville, one of the governor’s floor leaders in the House.

The other health-care bills Kemp signed Tuesday include:

— House Bill 85, which requires insurance companies to cover biomarker testing if supported by medical and scientific evidence.

— House Bill 383, increasing penalties for assaulting a health-care worker.

— House Bill 295, beefing up consumer protections against surprise billing.

— Senate Bill 46, requiring testing of all pregnant women for HIV and syphilis.

— Senate Bill 106, creating a three-year pilot program providing coverage for remote maternal clinical health services.

— Senate Bill 223, requiring reimbursements of expenses incurred by patients participating in cancer clinical trials.

This story available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, an initiative of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Dave Williams is bureau chief for Capitol Beat News Service, a service of the Georgia Press Education Foundation.