There’s been some talk about the ACA this cycle. Some folks have even decided that the ACA is the issue to run on or against for candidates. The ACA has been the subject of some 40ish repeal attempts in the House and countless hours of wasted dialogue. Quite frankly it is here to stay because of simple political math. We aren’t going to see a House and Senate with enough votes to overturn the President’s veto anytime soon. And why would a sitting president sign a law ending his program.
In Georgia we passed HB 707/943 this past session which severely limited the implementation of the ACA in Georgia. I worked for several legislators that were authors and cosigners of HB 707 and did some of the research to determine which programs were affected by the ACA, including reading a good bit of the ACA. We even have a cosigner of the bill now on Peach Pundit.
Even though I did work for several individuals that were very keen on this bill passing, it wasn’t something I was really in favor of. I have benefitted from several provisions of the ACA, and my girlfriend with type 1 diabetes is now able to get health insurance at a cost that is not a mortgage payment. Oh and she doesn’t get a subsidy either.
This all being said, there are some serious problems with the ACA and we should address them. One unique approach that is happening in Arkansas is to take advantage of the innovation waiver provision.
From Governing Magazine:
“But the additional waiver, known as the section 1332 or state innovation waiver, would allow Arkansas and other states starting in 2017 to drop major portions of the law, including the individual mandate or the insurance exchange requirement, if they have a viable plan that maintains at least the same level of coverage at the same cost to the federal government. As long as states can do that, which is no small feat, they can take the federal money they would have received and use it how they see fit.”
Given the already rampant distaste for the ACA amongst Georgia politicos (talking heads, bureaucrats, elected officials, and party leaders) it may behoove us as a state to look into this option. Some states will likely go with a more blue option, others more red meat.
Taking advantage of the 1332 provision, Georgia would be able to remake many provisions of the ACA. We’d presumably be able to get rid of various mandates as long as we met certain federal requirements. We’d also, presumably, be able to coerce more price transparency between providers and insurance companies. There’s a whole laundry list of options that Georgia could utilize to reform the ACA, and 1332 is the route to take.
The ACA is the law of the land regardless of your opinion on it. We had HB 707/943 last session which was a great red meat politics kind of bill, but it doesn’t do much to make Georgia better off than it was before. We’ve still got a couple years before this provision would be able to be fully utilized by Georgia, but we should start looking into it this coming session so we can be ready to lead and show what sort of innovation a state can have.