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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Henson calls on Deal to create exchange

Camie Young

Camie Young

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.

Election certified

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 camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.

Comments

kevin 1 year, 8 months ago

Don't do it. Let the Feds do it. Georgia will be stuck with debt they can't afford in the next few years when this burden will be passed to the state. This "exchange" it a rat trap waiting to close shut on the state taxpayers. Instead of constantly trying to "transfer wealth" from those poor souls that have to work for a living, try transferring those helpless people to their families to take care of them instead of the public as a whole. Are all our families that broken that they care less about their elders? What a disgrace how people in this country demonstrate to the rest of the world how little families support each other in time of need. We have become a disgraceful nation, just looking towards someone else to provide the funds needed to care for themselves or their families.

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kevin 1 year, 8 months ago

Quote:"Jindal said the federal health agency should give states waivers to rework their Medicaid programs, such as embracing the concept of "premium support." That idea usually involves giving program recipients vouchers to buy insurance on their own instead of signing up for a state-based program. Jindal said it would make the Medicaid program "a lot more flexible, market-based and efficient."

Horray for Louisiana. Georgia should follow suit. Time to form our Confederate States once again and succeed from the Union. I'd love to see the results in about 10 yrs time. Let the Liberals live in one half and all the other folks in the other half of the states. Then, in 10 yrs, lets see who is broke and who is happy. Love it. Obama has done wonders to bring us back to a civil war.

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Cleanupguy 1 year, 8 months ago

Great red-blooded American (mature) sentiment - if we don't like it, pick up our marbles and secede! Secede to succeed (please learn to spell it, at least - I see a pattern here)? Look how well that turned out the last time, after all. Anyway, if you've noticed, nearly all of the red states receive more from the feds than they send in. Most of the blue states pay in more than they receive back. Maybe we should encourage these people to leave, such that we could easily resolve the deficit problem. Of course, then we'd have to seal our borders against them, limit immigration, etc.

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JHogan 1 year, 8 months ago

Kevin: "Time to form our Confederate States once again and succeed from the Union. I'd love to see the results in about 10 yrs time. Let the Liberals live in one half and all the other folks in the other half of the states. Then, in 10 yrs, lets see who is broke and who is happy. "

So you want us to "succeed" from the Union? You mean "secede", I think. You have outdone even yourself here.

Jindal just said that the GOP should quit being the "stupid party". One step forward, and three steps back, I guess.

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Skimmer90 1 year, 8 months ago

If Governor Deal and the states leadership know what is good for their political skins, they will refuse to comply with the law altogether as several other states have done. The state's majority electorate will not tolerate going along with the healthcare mandates.

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Cleanupguy 1 year, 8 months ago

Alas, the majority in the country DID.

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BuzzG 1 year, 8 months ago

Don't help Obama and the Democrats enslave us with the socialized medicine. It will break the back of this country. Fight with everything you have.

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Cleanupguy 1 year, 8 months ago

Yeah, let's do away with all of this socialism stuff - Social Security, veterans benefits, fire and police departments, the military and such. Ummm - the way that true Americans "fight" is at the ballot box - guess who won - get over it. Per the far right Heritage Foundation and Gingrich, the health care change was crucial for us to overcome our highest in the free world costs (2.5 times higher) and improve our near the bottom longevity rates while actually reducing the deficit (everyone pays something, the paying nothing option is removed - see the OMB summary). Demographics change, we adapt, life goes on, and we grow and improve. At least that's what my grandparents said when arriving at Ellis Island.

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Linda 1 year, 8 months ago

Don't create the exchange. obama care is socialized medicine and it doesn't work very well in other countries and it won't here either. I won't vote for Deal again if an exchange is created in GA.

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Cleanupguy 1 year, 8 months ago

Yeah - who needs better care (measured by average longevity), lower costs (we're at the top) and expanded coverage, after all. Oh - I'm planning on staying with my current provider, which is not owned and controlled by the government (aka not socialized).

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Linda 1 year, 8 months ago

the Federal government cannot legally create the exchange in GA or any other state. goes against the constitution.

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Cleanupguy 1 year, 8 months ago

That silly Supreme Court does not agree with you, darnitall.

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Mack711 1 year, 8 months ago

The Supreme ruled that it was a tax that Congress passed. The House of Representives can vote to 'defund any tax'. There is a move in the House to do just that. If the vote goes along Party lines as was done when this bill was passed then the program will be 'defunded', which a lot of working citizens want. Some want the Government to make all the decisions and finincial matters for them. As most know when the Federal Government or any government gets involved cost rises, just like the trash plan, and services go down. Let's require the citizens to get their own health care just like car insurance. You can buy your own minimum insurance cheaper.

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Jonder 1 year, 8 months ago

Wrong. You cannot buy insurance as an individual that is cheaper than group health insurance. Your premiums and deductibles will be higher, and you will have pre-existing condition restrictions. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) allows individuals to negotiate discounts similar to the discounts that employer based groups get. That is the purpose of states creating the exchanges. And by the way, "Let's require the citizens to get their own health care" is also part of Obamacare. In Massachusetts under Gov. Romney, individuals who were eligible for health insurance but chose not to purchase coverage faced tax penalties.

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DavidBrown 1 year, 8 months ago

When the Affordable Care Act takes effect, mammograms would become more accessible for women with breast cancer. That sounds like a pro-life issue to me.

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CD 1 year, 8 months ago

The Gormandizing Gestapo constantly claims they can do anything better than the feds. Okay, then do so. Put them to shame, "Watermelon Wine" Deal.

The law is the law, so it's time to stop complaining and actually offer and implement ideas that are constructive and will improve the situation for all.

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SuxBeanU 1 year, 7 months ago

isn't henson the muppet guy?

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