A member of Gwinnett's Senate delegation is calling on Gov. Nathan Deal to move forward with the creation of a state health care exchange.
Steve Henson, of Tucker, who is the Senate Democratic Leader, said Deal should overlook politics and move forward on the exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act.
"Gov. Deal has been playing a game of political chicken with health care in Georgia. He has delayed the creation of our state's health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act believing a Romney win would repeal our nation's new health care laws," Henson said in a press release. "Instead of prioritizing Georgians' health, bringing our hard-earned tax dollars back to the state, and retaining state control over our insurance programs and industry, Deal continues to demonstrate he cares more about politics than people. Our citizens are not chess pieces in a giant political board game."
The health care law allows for two types of exchanges, the American Health Benefits Exchange (AHBE) for individuals, and the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
According to the law, states can operate the two together or separately and they can opt to create multiple exchanges based on geographic area or join with other states to create regional exchanges.
The Nov. 16 deadline for state-based blueprints was ecxtended to Dec. 14, giving Deal more time. But Henson said Georgia is one of nine states to have "no significant activity" in the creation.
"Through the years, Deal and the GOP beat a constant rhythm of local control," Henson said, pointing out that if a state opts against creating an exchange, the federal government will create it. "Now, they seem willing to cede control of our state programs to the federal government. This decision is not only bad for individual health care, it may likely turn our state's entire insurance industry regulation over to the federal government. Instead of returning federal tax dollars to Georgia, we are essentially sending our money to New York and California," he said.
Henson said officials should move forward and begin the work.
"Thousands of Georgians are without health insurance. The costs associated with this are widespread and impact all of us. Most insured individuals do not realize that we each pay around $1,300 every year to defray the costs of those without insurance. The cost to businesses is great and it takes a negative toll on our state economy. If we are truly concerned about the welfare of Georgians and stimulating our state economy, the time for Gov. Deal to act is now," said Henson.
I guess they finished counting in Fulton.
On Wednesday, eight days after the general election, Secretary of State Brian Kemp certified the results.
"In certifying the results, Secretary of State Brian Kemp affirmed that all counties have provided to the state the total votes tabulated for each candidate. Further, Secretary of State Kemp affirms that the returns are a true and correct tabulation of the certified returns received by this office from each county," a press release said.
The milestone sets the time period for any state office candidate to request a recount, giving people two business days to submit requests, the release said, but it does not preclude the state form investiation any future allegations.
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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