Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gov. Deal Identity Crisis

Governor Nathan Deal not implementing the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is opening Georgia state controlled Medicaid to the federal government to do whatever its pleases. That inaction of the state government will allow intrusion of the Feds so hard fought by Republicans governments in more than twenty states. It is seems Gov. Deal wants independence from the Feds but not so. Republican obstructionists blame the Obama administration for almost everything is wrong in the country, then leave open to his administration to intervene on those things they want to repeal. Crisis of identity or just plain foolishness. Why not repealing SB 31?

“I disagree with this decision. Congress explicitly said this was not a tax. I call on Congress to act swiftly, repeal the law and replace it with real reform that respects the Constitution as written.” --Attorney General Sam Olens

As Georgia's chief legal officer, Attorney General Sam Olens has led the State's legal fight against the President's health care reform law. The State of Georgia originally joined the federal multi-state lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the name of Governor. Immediately after being sworn-in, General Olens amended Georgia's filing and added the Georgia Office of the Attorney General to the lawsuit. Ultimately, 26 states[1], including Georgia, and the NFIB joined the lawsuit. Eventually, with a majority of the states challenging the ACA, the lawsuit made its way to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), after being called frivolous by many critics.

Although the Obama Administration assured the American people that the ACA was not a tax, on June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the ACA as constitutional under the federal government's taxing authority. While certainly disappointing, the states did prevail on their two main arguments against the ACA. The majority of the Court agreed with Georgia and the 25 other states that the federal government cannot force people to buy health insurance under the Commerce Clause and that the federal government cannot coerce states into accepting a massive and unaffordable expansion of the Medicaid program.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts said:

"Upholding the Affordable Care Act under the Commerce Clause would give Congress the same license to regulate what people do not do. The Framers knew the difference between doing something and  doing nothing.  They gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it.  Ignoring that distinction would undermine the principle that the Federal Government  is a government of limited andenumerated powers.  The individual mandate thus cannot be sustained under Congress’s power to 'regulate Commerce.'”

Prior to the SCOTUS decision, two lower courts ruled for Georgia and its fellow plaintiffs, finding the individual mandate unconstitutional.

June 2, 2011
Gov. Nathan Deal today signed an executive order creating the Georgia Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Committee. The committee will determine if Georgia should establish a state-based health care exchange under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Georgia has joined 25 other states in a lawsuit declaring the individual mandate, a key component of PPACA, unconstitutional.

“I want Georgia to have time to thoroughly study this issue as we wait for the judicial process to play out,” said Deal. “I want to engage Georgians about how we can expand access to health care insurance while lowering the burdensome costs on our state’s families. Georgians don’t want more federal ‘solutions’ and the best way to fight back right now is to manufacture a Georgia solution.

“It is my hope that this committee will construct the appropriate avenues for our state to implement our own exchange, based on delivering free market solutions for increasing the access and affordability of health insurance. This exchange should also focus heavily on improving the economic viability of creating and expanding small business in Georgia. I look forward to hearing the committee’s recommendations.”

Under PPACA, the states have until Jan. 1, 2014 to establish their own health care exchange. If Georgia does not create a state-run exchange by this time the federal government will establish and manage the exchange. The governor’s executive order states that the advisory committee must report its final recommendations by Dec. 15, 2011.

As U.S. Congressman, Deal was the first member of the House to declare the PPACA unconstitutional.

The members who will serve on the advisory committee are as follows:

Sen. Greg Goggans (R-Douglas)

Rep. Richard H. Smith (R-Columbus)

Rep. John Meadows (R-Calhoun)

Rep. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta)

Rep. Josh Clark (R-Buford)

Morgan  Kendrick, CEO, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia

Albert C. Ertel, Chief Operating Officer, Alliant Health Plans

Russell B. Childers, Jr., insurance broker, Georgia Assoc. of Health Underwriters

Rick Bailey, insurance broker, Rick Bailey & Company, Inc.

Cindy Zeldin, Executive Director, Georgians for a Healthy Future

Julianne Thompson, TEA Party

Ed Painter, grassroots representative                              

Phil Brown, Vice President Human Resources, Mohawk Industries, Inc.

Jimmy Childre, Georgia Chamber of Commerce                              

Kyle Jackson, National Federation of Independent Businesses                              

R. Timothy Stack, President and CEO, Piedmont Healthcare

Alan Levine, HMA Hospital Corporation

Ricardo Azziz, CEO, MCG

Ron Bachman, President and CEO, Healthcare Vision, Inc                    

W.  David Bradford, Ph.D., Busbee Chair in Public Policy at the University of Georgia

Lynn Zonakis, Managing Director for Health Strategy and Resources, Delta Airlines

Gerry Purcell, health insurance consultant

State officials:

Pat Wilson, Chief Operating Officer, Department of Economic Development

Ralph Hudgens, Insurance Commissioner

David Cook, Commissioner, Department of Community Health

November 16, 2012
ATTACHED: Gov. Deal’s letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius.

Governor cites unknown costs, lack of flexibility in Obamacare’s federal regulations

Gov. Nathan Deal today informed the Obama administration that Georgia will not set up its own health care exchange, citing Obamacare’s one-size fits all approach and the high cost that the law places on states.

“I remain committed to common sense health care solutions that empower consumers to take responsibility for their own health, motivate the private sector and drive efficiencies for consumers, employers and governments alike,” Deal said. “I continue to hope that we might finally engage in a serious conversation about restoring meaningful flexibility to states around health care programs.”

Deal said the federal government needs to loosen regulations that restrict states’ options.

“We have no interest in spending our tax dollars on an exchange that is state-based in name only,” Deal said. “I would support a free market-based approach that could serve as a useful tool for Georgia’s small businesses, but federal guidelines forbid that. Instead, restrictions on what the exchanges can and can’t offer render meaningless the suggestion that Georgia could tailor an exchange that best fits the unique needs of its population.

“I have joined numerous other governors seeking guidance from the federal government on establishing exchanges. We’ve yet to receive serious answers to our questions. I will not commit Georgia taxpayers to a project with so many unknowns.”

Why not repealing SB 31? It is good to do 'charity' with customers money
The Imperial Theatre is making a last-minute fundraising push to receive tax dollars allocated for the historic Broad Street theater.
A 25 percent match is required for $1 million in phase six special purpose local option sales tax money. As of Monday, the theater had raised $212,000.

“We’re in the final stages here. God willing, by the end of this year we will have raised the $250,000,” said Charles Scavullo, the executive director of the Imperial Theatre.
Since the campaign began in August 2011, it has received large donations from Wells Fargo, Georgia Power and the Knox Foundation, Scavullo said. About 30 percent of contributions were from foundation grants, and the remaining 70 percent came from individuals and corporations, he said.
The Augusta Chronicle, 11/22/2012

Financing two new reactors at Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Ga., has republicans and many democrats in a cosy bipartisan crusade behind the unconstitutional selective tax imposed to middle and low Georgia Power's customers.


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