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Bill to block state implementation of Obamacare clears Georgia legislature

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ATLANTA -- In the final moments of the 40-day legislative session’s 39th day, the Senate gave final passage to a watered-down version of a bill to block state employees from helping Georgians sign up for health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act.

The proposal was tacked onto another healthcare measure, House Bill 493, before the Senate agreed to it in a party-line vote about 5 minutes before the midnight cutoff for the next-to-the-last day of the current legislative session, sending it to the governor to sign it into law. It aims to prohibit the use of state employees or resources to encourage the public to enroll in what has become known as Obamacare.

“I think it sends a message repeatedly today that we do not agree with the Affordable Care Act,” said Senate Health Committee Chairwoman Renee Unterman, a nurse and a Republican from Buford.

Before it was weakened, the original proposal, sponsored by Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, and a group of tea-party freshmen had a blanket ban on state activity to implement the federal law. It blocked the insurance commissioner from enforcing the federal mandates in policies sold in the state, and it empowered the attorney general to prosecute anyone or any state agency that stepped over the line.

It specifically would have required the University of Georgia to turn over to the state general treasury a $2.2 million federal grant to supply “navigators” who help members of the public find an insurance plan. And it would have kept school employees from carrying out the navigator role.

The version that ultimately passed allows the school to complete the functions under the current grant but would prohibit it from getting a new one. Plus it now says the insurance commissioner is in no way prevented from policing the insurance companies and following up on complaints.

Also exempted from the prohibitions of the version sent to the governor are “institutions of higher learning or otherwise.” State employees can’t try to influence public opinion but they can influence public policy.

Asked what practical effect the bill will have after all of the exceptions, Unterman said, “I think it’s a very strong statement.”

Democrats complained that the bill amounted to efforts by southern states in the 1850s to nullify federal laws they didn’t agree with. They also compared it to southerners’ reluctance to end racial segregation despite federal laws and court decisions.

They claimed Republicans chiefly are bucking the federal law because they don’t like President Barack Obama.

“We in this state have a political problem,” said Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon. “You don’t like the man who did the plan.”

Earlier in the day, the Senate gave final passage of HB 990, which addresses another aspect of Obamacare, namely the expansion of Medicaid. Sponsored by the leaders of the House and also hotly debated by Democrats, it requires the legislature to approve any changes in Medicaid eligibility that would allow people with higher incomes to enroll.

Obamacare was designed with Medicaid being expanded to cover more people of modest incomes. Those with middle incomes can get insurance through health exchanges with taxpayers subsidizing the premiums.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled states have the option not to expand Medicaid, and Georgia is among those that chose not to, citing the cost to the state budget. In arguing for HB 990, Republican leaders said that only the legislature should authorize Medicaid changes because the state constitution requires the General Assembly to balance the budget every year.

Gov. Nathan Deal has 40 days to decide to sign or veto the bills after the legislature wraps up Thursday. He has said he agrees with HB 990, and Spencer said the governor was part of the negotiations on the final version of the bill to block Obamacare implementation.

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soapy_725
43772
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soapy_725 03/19/14 - 09:32 am
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We are about to have another War Between the States. LOL
Unpublished

We are about to have another War Between the States. LOL

soapy_725
43772
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soapy_725 03/19/14 - 09:33 am
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The "lawyers" are having a field day. Heck with ambulance chasin
Unpublished

The "lawyers" are having a field day. Heck with ambulance chasin

soapy_725
43772
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soapy_725 03/19/14 - 09:34 am
1
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Make a mockery of the legal system -- Marxx & Engles 101
Unpublished

Make a mockery of the legal system -- Marx & Engels 101

soapy_725
43772
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soapy_725 03/19/14 - 09:35 am
1
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Destroy the moral structure -- Marx & Engles 101
Unpublished

Destroy the moral structure -- Marx & Engles 101

soapy_725
43772
Points
soapy_725 03/19/14 - 09:36 am
1
0
Corrupt the youth with sex & violence--Marx & Engles 101
Unpublished

Corrupt the youth with sex & violence--Marx & Engles 101

soapy_725
43772
Points
soapy_725 03/19/14 - 09:37 am
0
0
Require the registration of all guns--Marx & Engles 101
Unpublished

Require the registration of all guns--Marx & Engles 101

itsanotherday1
45482
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itsanotherday1 03/19/14 - 12:38 pm
10
4
Stick the race card..

back in your pocket Mr. Lucas.

"We in this state have a political problem,” said Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon. “You don’t like the man who did the plan.” "

There was equal backlash for Hillarycare; and has been for every other cockamamie proposal for socialized medicine. (Obamacare is a trojan horse intended for just that as an eventual outcome)

bright idea
853
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bright idea 03/19/14 - 10:46 am
14
4
Until we ignore

Until we (everyone) ignore all defense of Obama based on his race this country is stuck in the mud. Supporting Obama's inept presidency just because he is black is the same as condemning his policies just because he is black. Obama's supporters aren't interested in the facts.

willie7
984
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willie7 03/19/14 - 11:03 am
1
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Sounds like the fifties when
Unpublished

Sounds like the fifties when Georgia was blocking desegregation!!!!

We haven't come too far!!!!
Oh course this is politics---
When Gov. Deal is re-elected, he will extend Medicaid, saying he was pressured by the medical professionals!!!!!!!!

Navy Gary
1615
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Navy Gary 03/19/14 - 11:16 am
6
3
Healthcare...

Healthcare? We should all have healthcare and it should be paid for by all of the countries that performed the over 2100 nuclear test explosions from 1945 to present.

myfather15
55764
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myfather15 03/19/14 - 12:29 pm
10
3
"They also compared it to

"They also compared it to southerners’ reluctance to end racial segregation despite federal laws and court decisions."

Leave it to disgusting democrats to throw race into a policy argument!! I'm so sick of this crap!!

“We in this state have a political problem,” said Sen. David Lucas, D-Macon. “You don’t like the man who did the plan.”

People didn't like it when it was Hillarycare either, you moron!!! Mr. Lucas doesn't deserve to sit in public office!! His claims are over the top, baseless, unprovable and cause division!!

lovingthesouth72
1378
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lovingthesouth72 03/19/14 - 01:13 pm
9
2
Thankful

Good move. We need to protect our fellow Georgians from the ill effects of this (un)affordable (has nothing to do with)healthcare act. Lets come up with a better way to insure Americans, mainly without the big government getting in the way.

OJP
6951
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OJP 03/19/14 - 01:18 pm
4
14
Shameful what the GOP is doing to Georgians.

Shutting down hospitals and denying people care over politics. Absolutely shameful.

Hopefully the Moral Monday campaign continues to grow.

corgimom
34208
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corgimom 03/19/14 - 02:03 pm
5
16
Gotta love people that oppose

Gotta love people that oppose everybody having health insurance.

Little Lamb
47005
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Little Lamb 03/19/14 - 03:06 pm
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1
Opposition

I don't oppose everybody having health insurance, if they want it, and if they pay for it themselves with no subsidies from me.

Dudeness
1546
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Dudeness 03/19/14 - 03:07 pm
8
2
Pulling the race card

In other words, you have no defense for your position whatsoever (aside from the fact that race and party are reasons 1 and 1a for your position). I can take either side of any given issue and provide arguments for and against without ever mentioning race. To start calling names without even trying to defend your actions is just plain lazy and proves that you should not be anywhere near the building that comes up with our laws.

Pond Life
17682
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Pond Life 03/19/14 - 03:55 pm
9
4
I see no one opposed to
Unpublished

I see no one opposed to people having health insurance. As a matter of fact I welcome it. That way I won't have to pay for their medicaid.

edcushman
7930
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edcushman 03/19/14 - 04:28 pm
14
3
"Gotta love people that
Unpublished

"Gotta love people that oppose everybody having health insurance."
corgimom, why should I be forced to pay for yours or anybody else's healthcare? I have an idea, you pay for yours and I'll pay for mine.

myfather15
55764
Points
myfather15 03/19/14 - 06:23 pm
11
3
Everybody having health

Everybody having health insurance? 7 million people LOST their coverage, and now 4.5 million people have signed up for the ACA, with well over half of those, being for medicare.

You do the math!! I believe more people are uninsured NOW, than before!!

twentieth century man
102
Points
twentieth century man 03/19/14 - 08:09 pm
4
1
gubernatorial power to expand medicaid.

This item seems to limit the executive power of the governor and may require a constitutional amendment. It should be challenged in court. Presumably , the only reason it was passed relates to the strong possibility that the governor will not be reelected.

rebellious
21295
Points
rebellious 03/20/14 - 12:21 am
5
1
Death

By a thousand cuts to this travesty and insult to freedom. One more tiny bloodletting, a paper cut at best, but one more cut. Or...another straw on the camel's back (camel being tax paying Umercuns).

GnipGnop
12467
Points
GnipGnop 03/20/14 - 03:56 am
9
1
Just so I can get this right....

Georgia wants to pass a law to make the Obamacare law unenforceable in Georgia because they think the federal governments has overstepped their boundaries and it because they are racist? Obama refuses to enforce immigration laws, illegally changes laws passed by congress, threatens to bypass the the legislative branch with his pen and phone, lies about the dreadful healthcare law, allows his attorney general to tell other attorney generals that if they don't like laws they don't have to enforce them therefore breaking every oath of office they both took yet your argument is it's about race? Wow....I just have no words to explain the ignorance of politicians....

jimmymac
42949
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jimmymac 03/20/14 - 08:43 am
0
0
GA
Unpublished

Congrats to the GA legislative body for their attempt to stop this monstrosity from hurting GA citizens. Scorn for the idiot that had to throw the race card into the pot. I guess this is the only argument libs can use when there's no other rational argument. It's been used so much it doesn't mean anything anymore. Nobody's afraid of that wolf anymore.

corgimom
34208
Points
corgimom 03/20/14 - 08:46 am
2
4
LL, you already ARE subsiding

LL, you already ARE subsiding these people. Take a look at your next hospital bill, you are paying for the ones who don't have insurance.

And you also get to pay through taxes.

That's why so many people just don't understand, either everybody can have insurance or people like you and me, LL, can foot the bill for other people who can't "afford" insurance- but have plenty of money to buy cigarettes, liquor, take vacations, eat out, etc.

corgimom
34208
Points
corgimom 03/20/14 - 08:48 am
2
3
"Lets come up with a better

"Lets come up with a better way to insure Americans, mainly without the big government getting in the way."

There IS no other way, insurance companies are private businesses, and they are not obligated to provide it for people that don't have the money to pay for it.

Little Lamb
47005
Points
Little Lamb 03/20/14 - 09:20 am
5
0
Obamacare Insurance Subsidies

I'm stuck with the decades-old precedent that emergency rooms must admit whomever shows up at there doors. I can't change that.

But what I'm complaining about above is the brand new system of subsidizing insurance premiums of people making up to four times the official government poverty level (which is $94,000 for a family of four) under Affordable Care Act. That is brand new, and it could be dismantled if people work at it before it becomes entrenched. Vote for the Tea Party candidate this fall if one is on your ballot.

TrulyWorried
15393
Points
TrulyWorried 04/21/14 - 10:48 am
1
0
Earnings

Wish I were in that income bracket LL mentioned - WOW!!

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