Deal proposal gets push from lawmakers
Georgia representatives proposed legislation earlier this year that dovetailed quite nicely with a campaign promise made last year by Nathan Deal, now the state"s governor.
The idea, spelled out in House Bill 476, is to allow Georgians to buy insurance plans that are more flexible -- and, perhaps, cheaper. Deal proposed during his campaign to allow Georgians to pool together on health insurance -- particularly small business owners.
"I think that"s something we need to do in this state because what it will do is it will take those individuals ... to go into a pool and buy a policy at a reasonable price,” Deal said at a candidates forum in January 2010.
The legislation would have created a commission to recommend an approach for setting up a health insurance exchange. It enjoyed wide support among lawmakers, particularly those who support private-sector health care choices for citizens and oppose the federal health care legislation that Democrats passed last year under President Barack Obama, which some critics describe as "Obamacare.”
The support for HB 476 buckled last week when tea party leaders heard about it and quickly marshaled an army of their supporters who pressed Deal and other Republican leaders to withdraw the bill. Debbie Dooley, a leader in the Atlanta Tea Party and the Georgia Tea Party Patriots, wants Georgia leaders to continue to fight the federal law.
"You don't win battles by waving the white flag with one hand and continuing to fight with the other hand," said Dooley, according to a report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
GOP leaders agreed to withdraw the legislation from the House rules calendar and move it to the Rules Committee. Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said in a statement that the governor understood the concerns of Dooley and other tea party leaders. Deal plans to create an advisory committee to study the state's options for a health insurance exchange.
When earlier legislation surfaced on this subject, we rated this campaign promise In The Works. Now that legislation has been withdrawn and Deal wants further study on this idea, this promise is Stalled.
House Bill 47
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Bill would allow sale of health care policies by out-of-state insurers,” Jan. 18, 2011
National Association of Health Underwriters, Consumer Guide to High-Risk Health Insurance Pools
Telephone interview with state Rep. Matt Ramsey, Jan. 21, 2011