Thu., April 14, 2011 4:13pm (EDT)

Lawmakers OK Healthcare Compact
By Melissa Stiers
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
(photo by Michael Tam via flickr).
(photo by Michael Tam via flickr).
Republican lawmakers want Georgia to join with other states to assert each state’s right to regulate its healthcare industry. Today they passed a measure that will allow the state to enter a compact with others.

State Democrats oppose the measure. Democratic Senator Steve Thompson from Marietta questioned its sponsor, Republican Senator Charlie Bethel of Dalton, about its intent.

"This is clearly an answer to the federal health care law that passed, is that not right?" Thompson asks.

"In part it relates to that but the bigger question is whether states should be in the business of managing healthcare within their borders," Bethel says.

Bethel says the compact is only legally binding if Congress approves it.

Congress passed a health care reform measure last year that would require nearly everyone to have health insurance.

Georgia and other states are suing over that provision.

Another federal provision requires the state have an online exchange to help people shop for health care plans. Earlier this session, state Republicans blocked a bill that would have created one in Georgia.