Georgia won’t set up health insurance exchange, but what will outcome be?
by Don McKee
November 19, 2012 12:43 AM | 5235 views | 3 3 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
Gov. Nathan Deal has decided that Georgia will not set up its own health insurance exchange, instead leaving the matter up to the federal government.

Deal’s decision follows the path of many other Republican governors in turning down participation in Obamacare’s plan for state-run exchanges with a start date of January 2014. The exchanges are supposed to serve as markets for individuals and small businesses to shop for private insurance coverage under federal regulations.

Already 20 states have opted out of the plan — and for good reasons. In his letter to the Obama administration last Friday, Deal said: “I remain concerned with the one-size-fits-all approach and high financial burden imposed on states by this federal mandate.”

Two huge problems are the unknown costs and the unknown federal regulations — yet to be disseminated. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas made the points in his rejection letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. He wrote: “As long as the federal government has the ability to force unknown mandates and costs upon our citizens, while retaining the sole power in approving what an exchange looks like, the notion of a state exchange is merely an illusion.” The rules for the new system “have not even been written,” he said.

Republican Govs. Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana laid it on the line in a letter to Obama: “States are struggling with many unanswered questions and are not able to make comprehensive far-reaching decisions prudently.” They had asked for a meeting with Obama and postponement of a Nov. 16 deadline for deciding on the state-run exchanges. The day before the deadline, the Obama administration extended it until Dec. 14 but so far is sticking to its plan to launch the health care plan’s expanded coverage Jan. 1, 2014.

Going against the grain with Republicans, Mississippi insurance commissioner Mike Chaney decided to set up an exchange. He said he doesn’t like Obamacare. “I think it needs to be repealed. But it is the law. If you default to the federal government, you forever give the keys to the state’s health insurance market to the federal government.” That may be food for thought, but on this, Deal and his fellow Republican governors are on the right track.

Deal said the exchange would be “state-based in name only.” He explained: “I would support a free market-based approach that could serve as a useful tool for Georgia’s small businesses but federal guidelines forbid that. Instead, restrictions on what the exchanges can and can’t offer render meaningless the suggestion that Georgia could tailor an exchange that best fit’s the unique needs of its population.”

Deal said he and other Republican governors are “seeking guidance from the federal government on establishing exchanges. We’ve yet to receive serious answers to our questions. I will not commit Georgia taxpayers to a project with so many unknowns.”

That much is clear, but it’s not clear what will happen to the insurance market in this state.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Know nuthins'
November 19, 2012
Hey all these confused GOP governors and the GOP columnist of this should go talk directly with the man they ALL JUST ENDORSED for President. These state exchanges could each and every one be modeled on the exchange enacted (successfully, by the way) in Massachusetts by none other than Mitt Romney. Yes, friendly reminder, you guys all just wholeheartedly endorsed this man....backed him 150% I'm told -- and, get this, Massachusetts is making money on their exchanges, yessirree, making money -- now you good folks didn't see that inconvenient fact anywhere in Donnie's column did ya?

But naw...your point is resistance to anything and everything signed by President Obama. Good luck with this resistance deal...resistance worked out great for you stubborn hillbillies when you resisted school desegregation, didn't it? Yeah, you guys got to look like the mean-spirited thugs that you were and the schools ended up desegregated anyway. Kind of funny how history has a way of repeating itself, especially down south now don't it?
November 19, 2012
Nathan Deal is an unscrupulous tool. I am so sick and tired of this BS about "serious answers to serious questions." The fact of the matter is that, as Patrick pointed out, Deal decided to wait to see what would happen in the election. The election is over. Get on board, Nathan. Your obstinance and willingness to gamble away the health of your fellow Georgians in exchange for political points is transparent, gross and no longer germaine to the conversation. Obamacare is settled law and the longer you wait the more of a disservice you do to the people of this state. Even the great progressive state of Mississippi has read the writing on the wall.
Patrick Thompson
November 19, 2012
By not participating in the design of a state program, lawmakers (and citizens) here will get a federally designed program. Deal played poker with our votes with the dream that a free-market, insurance-controlled market with Romney in the executive office would give control back to insurance companies to pillage and plunder. Their bets have been called in and our lawmakers have nothing but rhetoric - no substantial alternatives.
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