GOP Lawmakers Seek to Block Georgia Implementation of Federal Healthcare Law

Dec 16, 2013

Several Republican state representatives are seeking to prevent the state of Georgia from implementing the federal Affordable Care Act.

If approved, the legislation would ban the state, its employees, its contractors, local governments and the University System of Georgia from implementing the law. Holly Springs Representative Scot Turner says the legislation is needed to protect Georgians from what he calls the biggest overreach of federal government in modern history.

Rep. Jason Spencer speaks at a press conference held to announce legislation to prevent Georgia from implementing the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

“Obama Care is a tax for simply being alive. The people of Georgia have let us know that they want leaders to stand and defend them from this unjust violation of their right to live a free life.”

The representatives say the legislation would not do away with a federal healthcare exchange, which allows Georgians to receive medical coverage.  But they say it would prevent the University System of Georgia from operating the Navigator program. The program currently assists Georgians with signing up for the healthcare exchange.  Woodbine state Representative Jason Spencer is one of those sponsoring the legislation.

“We’re saying to the federal government that the state will not participate.”

The representatives also plan to ask the Attorney General or a special appointed counsel to file a lawsuit to try and overturn a case surrounding the Affordable Care Act, which was already ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the healthcare law but allowed states to choose whether to opt-out of Medicaid expansion.  Governor Nathan Deal decided against the expansion, saying Georgia couldn't afford it.

But Atlanta state Senator Vincent Fort defends the healthcare law, including Medicaid expansion.

“That would be the criminal part to this, if any more time, energy and resources were used to adjudicate what already is accepted law as opposed to implementing the Affordable Care Act.”

And Fort says the legislation seeking to prevent Georgia from implementing the Affordable Care Act is an attempt to pander to the far right base of the Republican party during a primary election year.

“It just shows just how far down the road of extremism the Republican party has gone down.”

Those opposing the federal healthcare law say large numbers of Georgians have lost their healthcare coverage due to the act. Meanwhile, supporters say as a result of the state’s decision not to expand Medicaid, hundreds of thousands of Georgians will remain uninsured.