Many states are currently locked in the legislative throes of establishing a new health insurance exchange, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. While states are not required to have a fully functioning exchange in place until 2014, the government has issued a mid-term deadline. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, says that the deadline is slated for some point in 2012. If states cannot show that they have made sufficient progress in establishing exchanges the federal government will take over the plan.
Several states are currently struggling with getting the appropriate legislation passed that would enable them to build the exchanges. Health reform is being contested by more than 25 states, each arguing the provisions of the new law as being unconstitutional.
Georgia has been one of the more outspoken opponents of the reform, but the quickly approaching deadline has spurred state lawmakers to action. Governor Nathan Deal has said he will make sure that any legislation regarding the exchanges will be for the betterment of Georgians and not to “stroke the egos of Washington bureaucrats.”
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The state is currently focusing on legislation that would put it into an interstate compact health care group, but progress toward an exchange program has been made.
Sebelius insists that states still have ample time to build exchanges, but if they don’t want the government running the programs for them, they shouldn’t wait much longer.