Gov. Deal says Ga. won't create health care exchange - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Gov. Deal says Ga. won't create health care exchange

Posted: Updated: April 5, 2013 10:30 PM

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal told the Obama administration on Friday that the state will not create the health insurance exchanges required under the health care overhaul.

The exchanges would allow self-employed workers, small business employees that aren't offered insurance through their work, or people with pre-existing conditions to be a part of a large group plan such as the ones offered by large corporations.

"Here with this concept of pooling all the individuals in a state together, that way you have more buying clout. You're not by yourself," said Andy Miller, the editor of Georgia Health News.

The Republican governor wrote a letter to federal officials Friday saying the Democratic president was taking a one-size fits all approach and criticized the law for placing costs on states.

"We don't know what the costs are going to be," said Brian Robinson, a spokesman for Gov. Deal.

Deal said the federal government should loosen regulations that restrict state options on health care.

But just because Georgia won't have its own exchange doesn't mean Georgians won't have access -- they'll be able to join the federal exchange instead.

"The question here is who sets up the exchange, and if you're not going to let us do it in a way that best suits Georgians, if there's going to be a federal exchange anyway, let them pay for it, let them manage it," said Brian Robinson.

Miller says the whole idea of each state having their own exchange was to have local control.

"I think that there was some desire on the part of many Georgians to have the state do this because we have more local knowledge of the insurance market. Every state has a different insurance market with different insurers, different regulators," Miller said.

An even bigger Obamacare decision is ahead: a huge expansion of Medicaid for the poorest Georgians that the Supreme Court says states can opt out of.

"We acknowledge that it's the law of the land, that Obama has won re-election and it's going to be here. We still need to work with them on finding solutions to stuff in the law. We can't afford the Medicaid expansion that's inside of it," said Robinson.

The deadline for states to let the federal government know their decisions on the exchanges was originally Friday, but the President extended that into December. So far, 19 states have agreed to set up exchanges, while 20 others have declined.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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