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Friday, June 3, 2011 - 9:48am

Panel to Explore Health Care Exchange

Gov. Nathan Deal has signed an executive order creating a panel to determine whether Georgia should establish a state-based health care exchange under the new federal health care law.

Georgia has joined 25 other states in a lawsuit declaring the individual mandate, a key component of the legislation, unconstitutional. Deal says he wants Georgia to have time to thoroughly study the issue as the judicial process plays out.

Under the federal law, states have until Jan. 1, 2014 to establish their own health care exchange. If they fail to comply, the federal government will establish and manage the exchange. Deal's order, signed Thursday, says the advisory committee must report its final recommendations by Dec. 15.

As a Congressman, Deal was the first member of the House to declare the federal health care law unconstitutional.