House Bill 81 allows county authority operated hospitals to be counted among the types of “agencies” that can collect a debt from consumers with a tax refund offset. Using an income tax refund offset for collection of medical debts concerns Georgia Watch. It is widely known that there is room for error and dispute when it comes to hospital bills, and medical debt is a leading cause of bankruptcy. According to the proposed Georgia legislation, no judgment needs to be obtained in order to get the offset. We oppose HB 81 because of the negative consequences this could have for low-income, uninsured consumers who may wish to dispute or negotiate their hospital bills.
See 2017 news coverage of this bill here.
Update: This bill passed out of the House Ways & Means Committee on February 22, 2018 and passed the House of Representatives on Crossover Day (February 28, 2018). Georgia Watch advocated against this bill, and it did not advance in the Senate.