HB 476, a bill creating Health Care exchanges which would allow for larger pools of insured patients (thus spreading risk and lowering costs), will be pulled from the House calendar today.
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 healthcare. This reaction is especially disappointing because this was the opportunity for Georgia to create a beneficial exchange on our terms. If not done by next January, Federal Health Care reform mandates the federal government to create an exchange for Georgia, on their terms. This is providing that the act is not declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
My hope is that legislators use the “off-season” to educate themselves on the benefits of the exchange, and in turn, educate their voters on the benefits of Georgia setting up such a mechanism. Kyle Wingfield wrote an excellent piece on the right way to do this, modeling our efforts after Utah.
This is the kind of common sense health care reform that used to be often recommended (but never acted on) by Republicans. It’s good for consumers, and great for small businesses. The kind of thing that Republicans claim to stand for. Yet, it was part of the 2,000+ pages mandated by Obama, and thus, is now dead to us.
After letting it stew for a few months, my hope is that Republicans will think better of it, rename it anything but “heath exchanges” or anything required by the federal health care reform act, and try again claiming the idea as our own.