Another State Opts Out of Health Care

We have an update on another way one state is opting out of the health care reform bill, from the Atlanta Business Chronicle:

Georgia Republicans are continuing to give the backs of their hands to the health-care reform legislation passed by the Democratic Congress.

State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine announced Monday that Georgia will not participate in a $5 billion temporary high-risk insurance pool established under the new law.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius had sent Oxendine a letter on April 2 inviting him to express an interest in the grant program.

I have no confidence in any federal assertion that this so-called temporary program will not burden the taxpayers of Georgia,” Oxendine responded in a letter dated Monday. “I am concerned that the high-risk pool program will ultimately become the financial responsibility of Georgians in the form of an unfunded mandate.”

Oxendine, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, also expressed reservations about the state taking part in any portion of the health-care overhaul when Georgia is among 19 states that have questioned the constitutionality of the new law.

More than a dozen states already have filed a lawsuit claiming the federal government doesn’t have the right to require individuals and businesses to buy health insurance.

Gov. Sonny Perdue has announced that he may hire a special attorney general to bring a similar case. Georgia’s Democratic attorney general, Thurbert Baker, declined the governor’s request to file suit, arguing that it would not be winnable.

Sibelius has given Oxendine until April 30 to indicate whether Georgia will participate in the program.

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