About 24 percent of Georgia’s population are uninsured. Georgia politicians have aggravated their plight by not participating in the ObamaCare expansion of Medicaid. Georgia legislators can help rectify this by making insurance more affordable.
A major reason for the high costs of American health care is state and federal mandates. According to a 2012 report, Georgia has upwards of 35 mandates for both individual and employer owned health insurance. These mandates are costly. They are there because workers want their employers who own health insurance plans to cover their illnesses.
Individually owned health insurance policies are also covered by the mandates of employer-based health care. They need not be. Individuals pay for their own insurance. They can raise or lower their costs depending on what coverage they choose for their plans to cover. Excluding them would greatly decrease the costs for the individually owned health care insurance market.
If Georgia politicians tried to remove the mandates for job-based health insurance, there would likely be a public outcry from both the patients and the providers. If they did this for individually owned plans, there might be an outcry from the providers but not from individual plan owners. They would be happy as their costs were lowered.
Federal mandates are also a problem. ObamaCare has ten essential benefits. These are mandates that include such things as outpatient care. When third parties pay, then patients would like full coverage including outpatient care. However, it is expensive to set up the guidelines, CPT codes, make the reimbursements, and have a profit. There are also privacy issues.
All of these can be bypassed when individuals pay as they do when they take their cars for maintenance or minor repairs. It would certainly help to lower the cost for the five percent who have individual insurance. Also, some of the uninsured might find they could afford catastrophic health insurance.
Some workers with job-based health insurance are afraid to change jobs or become an entrepreneur for fear of losing their health insurance. This may give them an affordable option.
By executive order, President Obama has delayed the employer mandate. Georgia could and should do the same for the individual mandate. They could create a law that says an insurance policy underwritten and sold in Georgia does not need to adhere to the federal mandates.
The Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution that is located in Article I, Section 8, Clause 3. It reads, “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” It does not say the federal government can regulates intrastate commerce where something is made and sold within a state. Recently, a federal agency made the case for this. In a complaint for forfeiture, the Food and Drug Administration made clear that they had seized the drugs, which “were shipped in interstate commerce.”
Our Georgia elected officials can significantly help the plight of the uninsured and those with individually owned insurance policies by eliminating state and federal mandates