A new panel has been formed in Georgia to determine whether or not the state will benefit from creating a health insurance exchange. The panel is comprised of a group of legislators, health care experts and representatives of advocacy groups, all appointed by Governor Nathan Deal. The group will be tasked with examining how an exchange will impact small businesses in the state and if the program will reduce insurance prices as it promises to.
Governor Deal asserts that no decision regarding whether the state should established an exchange should be reached until the panel comes to a conclusion on the matter.
Georgia is not exempt from a federal mandate that declares that each state must have a health insurance exchange program in place by 2014. However, state officials are not privy to follow the mandate if there is a viable alternative. According to the provisions of the health care reform law, every state has an opportunity to create and exchange and decide how it should operate within the state. After the deadline, however, the federal government will take the reins and establish an exchange themselves.
“I want Georgia to have time to thoroughly study this issue as we wait for the judicial process to play out,” says Deal. Earlier this year, state legislators were unable to approve a bill that would have commissioned a group to investigate the necessity of an exchange program, leading Deal to take matters into his own hands.
The panel has until December 15th to submit their recommendation to the Georgia Legislature.