Georgia decides it’s ready to get with the program on healthcare. This is very positive news.
A House subcommittee unanimously approved a bill (HB 476) that would create the Georgia Health Exchange Authority, an arm of state government that would run a state-based insurance exchange — a central part of the nation’s new health care law.
The exchange would serve as a host for private companies who want to sell insurance and who are willing to follow guidelines drawn up by both the state and the federal government. Consumers who don’t get coverage at work will probably shop on the exchange through a website. They will submit information about their income and their family, and then they will be presented with options for coverage from private companies. The exchange would also determine whether someone qualifies for Medicaid, the government plan to cover low-income Americans.
Small business owners could go to a separate exchange to shop for a plan to cover their employees. Along with presenting choices for coverage, an online interface would let consumers know whether they qualify for a federal tax credit to help pay for their insurance.
Adding a public option to this exchange wouldn’t be difficult once the exchange is functioning. But imagine the convenience this will offer the uninsured. Hopefully the bureaucratic nonsense will be kept to a minimum and the whole process is as simple as buying a book at Amazon. Yeah, that’s probably too much to ask. Nevertheless — hey! A bigtime red state appears to be on board. That’s good.