Tea party enthusiasts are claiming the first scalp of Crossover Day.
House Republicans pulled the bill to create health care exchanges, as mandated by last year’s federal health care legislation, from today’s calendar after a series of proposed amendments failed to mollify tea partyers.
Atlanta Tea Party leader Debbie Dooley credited a barrage of phone protests from various tea party groups across the state. She and another leader, Julianne Thompson, met Tuesday with state Reps. Ed Lindsey, R-Atlanta, Donna Shelton, R-Dacula, and Richard Smith, R-Columbus, and representatives of Gov. Nathan Deal.
“We targeted Governor Deal – because it was his bill, and he was pushing it,” Dooley said.
HB 476 would have allowed for the creation of larger pools of insured patients, spreading risk and lowering costs. Lawmakers had tried to argue with tea partyers that –without state action – the federal government will step in and do the same thing. Without input from the state.
Absent any court action, Georgia has yet another year to revisit the issue. Here’s the statement from Deal spokesman Brian Robinson:
Governor Deal, in consultation with the General Assembly, has decided to put on hold legislation that would create Georgia’s health insurance exchange.
A federal district court has agreed with Georgia’s position that Obamacare is unconstitutional, and we are awaiting an expedited ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The governor believes the court will affirm the lower court ruling. The state needs injunctive relief to remove these costly mandates.
In the meantime, the governor will create an advisory committee to study our options for a health insurance exchange. The governor has to follow federal law as it stands.
If Georgia must have an insurance exchange under federal law, the governor wants to ensure that our exchange is established by and run by Georgians. The alternative is having an exchange established by and run by Washington bureaucrats. The governor considers the latter unacceptable.
The governor understands Georgians’ suspicions about any legislation associated with Obamacare. He shares their opposition to the federal takeover of health care. The governor wants Georgians to have time to study this issue and discuss it thoroughly, as we wait for the judicial process to play out.
The governor of Georgia is going to fight for the prerogatives of Georgia, and he’s going to engage Georgians about how we expand access to health care insurance while lowering the burdensome costs on our state’s families.
The bottom line is: Georgians don’t want more federal “solutions” and the best way to fight back is manufacture a Georgia solution.
Certain Republicans have pointed out that Georgia legislation to establish health care exchanges pre-dates Barack Obama and last year’s health care legislation. For instance, state Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, introduced SB 28 in 2007 — which would have had much the same effect. The “Insuring Georgia’s Families Act” wasn’t just signed by Hill. Chip Rogers, now Senate Majority leaders, and Tommie Williams, now Senate president pro tem, were also sponsors.
But over at PeachPundit.com, Charlie Harper explains why this argument didn’t sell:
Because the exchanges are mandated by “Obamacare,” they are dead to a large number of skiddish legislators who believe they must not in any way be associated with a federal takeover of health care.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider