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Saturday, November 13, 2010 - 8:00pm

Georgia Weighs Healthcare Options

Georgia’s next insurance commissioner is going to get schooled on the national health care reform law this coming week. Although Georgia is one of 20 states challenging the law in court, the commissioner-elect and current state senator Ralph Hudgens says the state needs to prepare to implement it.

"Well, we're certainly going to have to be preparing, I guess you'd say, for the worst, because if it’s a federal law and it’s upheld and it’s found to be constitutional and the new Republican-controlled house aren’t able to rewrite sections of it," says Hudgens, "we’re going to have to comply with it whether we like it or not."

Senator Hudgens is going to a meeting of state legislators in Texas this week to get details on how to implement the law.

Among its requirements… an expansion of Medicare to include more people come January 2014 when it takes effect, and the creation of a state exchange where people can shop for health insurance and see if they’re eligible for government subsidies.

"At the current time we don’t have any responsibility other than to establish a state based exchange or a regional exchange or decide we’re not going to and let the federal government establish an exchange for Georgia," says Hudgens.

It will be up to the new governor to decide what Georgia will do.

The state has already decided to let the federal government run a high-risk insurance plan for those with preexisting conditions rather than offering its own plan.

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