Health Insurance Exchange: GA No Tool of the Federal Government – State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens

August 06, 2012

Ralph T. Hudgens, GA State Insurance Commissioner

The state health insurance exchanges being called for under ObamaCare are not in the best interest of Georgia.

As State Insurance Commissioner, I have repeatedly expressed my opposition to Obamacare. It is a significant expansion of the power of the Federal Government, and I believe it will lead to increased cost, less consumer choice, and a reduction in the quality of care. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court decided that Obamacare is constitutional – a decision with which I strongly disagree. While Obamacare is a federal law, it purports to offer states some discretion as it relates to the creation of insurance exchanges.

Obamacare mandates that a health insurance exchange be operational in each state by 2014. Under President Obama’s law, the Federal Government will create an exchange or Georgia can create its own, provided that the Georgia exchange follows the dictates of the federal law. As Georgia’s insurance Commissioner, and a strong advocate of the 10th amendment, I could not simply ignore a potential opportunity to retain some state authority and thus weaken the negative impact of Obamacare. However, having looked at the choice purportedly offered by Obamacare, I believe it to be a false one. It is my opinion that the creation of a Georgia exchange is not in our State’s best interest because such an exchange would be subject to the federal law, the mountains of regulations the have been promulgated since its passage, and the regulations that, to this date, have still not been finalized.

I welcome any action by the federal government that truly shifts authority from Washington D.C. back to Georgia and which allows our State to set policy in areas so important to the lives of our citizens. However, as the situation currently exists, the creation of a Georgia exchange would make our State little more than a tool to be used by the Federal Government to implement a law which I believe is misguided. I cannot recommend the creation of an exchange when doing so will not, in any meaningful way, allow our State to make decisions that we believe to be in our own best interest.

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