Says Barnes Demonstrates He’s Still Out of Touch with Georgians
Today, John Oxendine responded to comments made last week by Democrat gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes that criticized Commissioner Oxendine’s decision not to set up a state-run high-risk insurance pool that was inadequately funded by the federal government. The implementation of this pool was the Obama Administration’s first step in the overall implementation of the new federal healthcare legislation.
In April, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to the states asking them to set up or expand high risk insurance pools by June 21st, or allow her department to administer the program. HHS has been allocated $5 billion for the entire nation to finance the plans until 2014. The Chief Actuary for Medicare and Medicaid calculated that the funds allocated to the program would run out in 2012, leaving the states responsible for payment of programs they administer.
Commissioner Oxendine was the first constitutional officer in the nation to respond to the letter, stating that he would not commit the State of Georgia to a new entitlement program that would ultimately become the financial responsibility of Georgians in the form of an unfunded mandate. HHS has stated that high-risk Georgians will still be covered because the federal government will administer the program directly. Since Oxendine’s decision, a total of 18 states have followed his lead and declined to participate in setting up the pool, including 3 states (DE, TN, WY) whose decisions on the matter were controlled by Democrat Governors or Insurance Commissioners.
In comments made in Dekalb County last week, Roy Barnes vowed to undo the decision, saying that he would have the state administer the program through the Department of Administrative Services.
“It is clear that Roy Barnes still isn’t listening to Georgians. Georgians are overwhelmingly opposed to Obama Care and the trillions of dollars of new spending that comes with it. He apparently is more interested in supporting the Obama Administration’s entitlement programs than about how those failed policies will actually impact Georgia,” said Commissioner Oxendine.
“The contrast between Roy Barnes and myself is extremely clear. I believe that Georgians don’t need additional government mandates coming from Washington. I believe we need less spending, lower taxes, and more jobs. With all the teacher layoffs, I’d like to know how Roy Barnes is going to pay for the entitlement programs that he wants to put Georgia taxpayers on the hook for.”