Opinion: Post-AHCA, how health reform can move forward in Georgia

The fate of the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is in grave doubt. That doesn’t mean health reform is stuck in Georgia.

While House Republicans argue and negotiate, one man sits in his office ready and able to authorize as bold a plan as Georgia’s leaders can conjure. As it happens, he is quite familiar to them.

Tom Price (AP Photo)

When Roswell’s Tom Price moved from Congress to the executive branch as secretary of health and human services, he instantly gained the power to reshape much of the way health care works in this country, regardless of what becomes of Obamacare. Ironically, it’s Obamacare that gives him that ability.

The law Republicans are now trying to undo left many decisions up to the office Price now occupies — by his count, the law says “the secretary may” or “the secretary shall” more than 1,400 times. It also gives Price’s department the authority to grant the states waivers to the law’s requirements for health plans offered on their insurance exchanges, and that’s where this gets interesting.

Between that authority and a similar waiver provision in the original 1965 Medicaid law, the federal government can choose to give states wide latitude in how they run federal health programs. The Obama administration was fairly restrictive when it came to granting that latitude. The Trump administration, with Price at the point, is expected to be far more generous.

The upshot is Georgia can finally pursue the kinds of reforms of Medicaid and Obamacare exchange plans that would help rationalize our health-insurance marketplace. No one has yet tested the boundaries of what HHS under Price may allow, but from what I’ve heard Georgia should shoot for the moon.

We’re talking about combining Medicaid dollars with grants for housing assistance (from Ben Carson’s Department of Housing and Urban Development) and job training to provide down-on-their-luck but able-bodied Georgians a chance to rebound and move into, or back into, self-sufficiency.

We’re talking about subsidizing high-risk individuals in the exchange — primarily those with expensive pre-existing conditions — to lower premiums for everyone else. (Maine is often mentioned as an example of how to do this right.)

We’re talking about finding ways to ensure the subsidies Washington makes available either help working Georgians afford at least a catastrophic insurance plan or, if they don’t use the money, are shifted toward the hospitals that perform uncompensated care.

We may even be talking about asking for a portion of the federal money that would have gone toward expanding Medicaid — not all of it, and not the state’s matching funds, with the idea being that taxpayers at both levels of government would save money — to help pay for all of this.

In short, we’re talking about using the tax dollars already going to health care for reforms that would actually help cover more people and lower costs. For too long, we’ve been spending those dollars in ways that raise costs, which leads to fewer people being covered.

If ever there was a time to combine conviction with expertise to the benefit of Georgia’s health consumers, it’s now, with Price at HHS and Nathan Deal (who chaired a key health subcommittee while in Congress) as governor. Let’s see what’s possible.

Reader Comments 0

227 comments
MarkVV
MarkVV

Obama wanted a closer relationship to Russia and sent Hillary there where she had the now infamous toy button reset with reset misspelled in Russian.

JohnnyReb has thus provided evidence for my previous comment

 “Why are the Trump supporters here trying so hard to deny, deflect, distract from those questions [about the contacts of the Trump’s campaign people with the Russians]? The only answer I can see is that their narrow political interests far outweigh any sense of morality, justice and truth, if they ever had any, and that is very sad and shameful.”

I addition, you may notice the idiocy and attempt at distraction by including the detail about “toy button reset misspelled in Russian,” as if misspelling had any importance in the issue. 

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Let's all laugh together, haha


The Department of Justice (DOJ) keeps giving radical leftist groups that support President Obama huge amounts of cash collected from big banks to settle discrimination and mortgage abuse lawsuits filed by the government.

Judicial Watch first reported the scheme two years ago when Countrywide Financial Corporation doled out $335 million to settle its discrimination lawsuit with the feds. The money was supposed to be distributed to more than 200,000 minority victims who supposedly were charged higher interest rates and fees than white borrowers based on their race not their credit. Instead, a chunk of the money went to Democrat-tied groups not connected to the lawsuit, including the scandal-plagued Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the open-borders National Council of La Raza (NCLR).


http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2014/08/doj-give-leftist-groups-cut-b-settlement/


Your president was lawless. Third world lawless. 

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

How about the one where an fbi agent incited two islamic terrorists to attack the draw allah cartoon convention in Garland Texas? Followed them to the scene of the attack, took some pictures for obozo's photo album and then fled the scene when the shooting started. Does this fit the job description that you had in mind?


They being the same organization accusing Trump of the laughable "crime" of colluding with the Russians?


Does this organization need to be dismantled or what?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

 MarkVV 34 minutes ago

The Trump campaign people may or may not actively collaborated with the Russians in the efforts of the latter to disrupt the US presidential election and influence it in favor of Donald Trump. That is yet to be determined. What is not in doubt is that there were widespread contacts between the Trump people and Russians associated with the Putin government, and the question is: Why? Why all this interest to be close to the government – and even help it - of a country that clearly is opposed to the ideals our country has always stood for, even if she was not always perfectly true to, and dangerous to our national interests?


Yeah, the Trump campaign should have just sold them some weapons grade uranium and got paid a half a million for one speech, then nobody would have said a word about it. 


I hope that every time the clinton crime family talks to a foreigner we are intercepting the discussion for future political purposes. Now is the perfect time to rescind the tax exempt status of any liberal political organization. Let's sue the hell out of the green energy companies and award the settlements to Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. 


Hell with it, we may as well commit some real crimes if we're going to be accused of them no matter what. We can have Sessions investigate and find no wrongdoing.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@AndyManUSA#45 @Hedley_Lammar  Let's sue the hell out of the green energy companies and award the settlements to Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. 


No. I dont need a dictionar to know what batshyte crazy sounds like.


You realize everyone here laughs at you right ? 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

 it's difficult to give Barry and Hillary a presumption of innocence when it is obvious they colluded to lie about the attack right from the start.


Ill give you the logical flip side of this Johnnyracist and lets see if you get it


Its difficult to give Trump a presumption of innocence when its obvious to some he colluded with the Russians to get elected from the start.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

so law enforcement needs to ignore illegals to avoid them not calling police when they are needed?


Can anyone follow this ?


JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar try to keep up, will you?

below there is implication that local law enforcement should ignore immigrant legal status otherwise the illegals won't call police and they become victims of those targeting them because they won't call police.

That's a poor excuse from the LibProgs trying to protect illegals.

As I stated, instead either deport or give a green card so those who remain can live under our constitutional protections.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@JohnnyReb @Hedley_Lammar We arent going to do either.


Path to citizenship is the only way. They arent going anywhere.


below there is implication that local law enforcement should ignore immigrant legal status otherwise the illegals won't call police and they become victims of those targeting them because they won't call police.


And yes they should. Local police arent an arm of ICE. They should stick to local crime and make those communities safer. Which of course they will by working with immigrants. As the data shows.

MarkVV
MarkVV

The Trump campaign people may or may not actively collaborated with the Russians in the efforts of the latter to disrupt the US presidential election and influence it in favor of Donald Trump. That is yet to be determined. What is not in doubt is that there were widespread contacts between the Trump people and Russians associated with the Putin government, and the question is: Why? Why all this interest to be close to the government – and even help it - of a country that clearly is opposed to the ideals our country has always stood for, even if she was not always perfectly true to, and dangerous to our national interests?

Those are questions underlying the national debate, but they are also pertinent to the debate on this blog. Why are the Trump supporters here trying so hard to deny, deflect, distract from those questions? The only answer I can see is that their narrow political interests far outweigh any sense of morality, justice and truth, if they ever had any, and that is very sad and shameful. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@MarkVV try study or recent history.

Obama wanted a closer relationship to Russia and sent Hillary there where she had the now infamous toy button reset with reset misspelled in Russian.

There is nothing unusual about the contacts of the Trump team with Russia except in the minds of LibProgs.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb @MarkVV

the investigation is about the Ruskies possibly being responsible for giving Wikileaks the DNC and Podesta docs, and if there is any legitimacy in the claims of a Trump campaign tie to Russia.

Try to keep a perspective on an presumption of innocence.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb @MarkVV


Nope. There is not. Its long been established that campaign representatives have always had talks with representatives of various foreign nations in the midst of campaigns. So Trump officials talking to the Russians is nothing new or unusual. 


Dims are just throwing a bunch of mud up against the wall to see what sticks. Apparently, this kind of silliness works with the mindless among us. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@JohnnyReb @MarkVV Try study the history - you might learn, what you are so obviously ignorant about. Trying to reset relationship with Russia, and Russia interfering with our elections are very different things. It is clear you are one of those I wrote about in my comment.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

The “sanctuary cities” that President Trump has repeatedly characterized as incubators of crime are generally safer than other cities, according to a new analysis of FBI crime data.

Holy mother of Christ, do we really have to explain to people why "sanctuary cities" are simply acting out of the interests of public safety?

Look, geniuses--if you have a nontrivial percentage of the population afraid of calling the authorities when there's trouble, that's a safety issue. So you tell these people it's ok to call the authorities when there's trouble--we won't use this as an excuse to call ICE on you.

Got it?

Sheesh. Smarter conservatives, please.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Visual_Cortex Its happens in cities everywhere


Immigrants in non sanctuary cities become prey for criminals who know they can steal from them without repercussions. Nobody is going to call the police.


This means more violence and more crime. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar @Visual_Cortex

so law enforcement needs to ignore illegals to avoid them not calling police when they are needed?

Instead, what if all the illegals are deported or receive a green card?

Problem fixed.

And we are headed that way.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

36 states under R control, several have mixed governors and legislatures. Only 5 states left that have both a D executive and a D legislature. 


Let the bloodbath and the annihilation of the Dim party continue.  

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Doom a classical liberal 400 + counties voted for Clinton in 2016


2/3rds of the nations economic activity happens in those 400 + counties. 


Republicans do control a lot of dirt where nothing happens however.


According to the Brookings analysis, the less-than-500 counties that Clinton won nationwide combined to generate 64 percent of America's economic activity in 2015. The more-than-2,600 counties that Trump won combined to generate 36 percent of the country's economic activity last year.

Clinton, in other words, carried nearly two-thirds of the American economy.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Those that do not want to get to the bottom of the Russian connection saga, yea or nay? They're putting politics above country.  How traitorous of them.


This lady may have stumbled
But she ain't never fell
And if the Russians don't believe that
They can all go straight to hell

That's right Charlie. Real Americans believe Putin and the Russians can go straight to hell.  But the like of Alabama white trash such as Jeff Sessions? Not so much.

breckenridge
breckenridge

The Dems dreamed up the Trump/Russia tie as a campaign tactic but it took on a life of its own even though Dem party fathers are now trying to tamp down the expectations of their base.

Uh-huh.  Which is exactly why Flynn lied his arse off.  And why Sessions lied his arse off.

If they're not trying to hide something, why lie? 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@breckenridge If they're not trying to hide something, why lie?  


Exactly. Sessions perjured himself on day 1. 


Manafort is the key to this. He was heading up Trumps campaign and was very cozy with Putin in the past.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@breckenridge

you've got a bad case of derangement syndrome.

Flynn lied, yes, but in reference to a really old law never enforced.  He was let go for lying to Pence.

Sessions did not lie, he answered in the context of Franken's question.

You and those like you are grasping for straws and are the perfect example of why your party fathers are trying to tell you to prepare for nothing being there. 

And BTW, ever who unmasked Flynn is in deep doo doo.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Hedley_Lammar @breckenridge

More fantasy.

Manafort sold services to a guy more than 10 years earlier that happened to be cozy with Putin.

That is not against the law.


breckenridge
breckenridge

@JohnnyReb @breckenridge 

I'm not a liberal you extremist cracker.  And take your "rino" crap and jam it old man. You don't get to define what a conservative is punk.

 

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@JohnnyReb @breckenridge


Great points. Not only that but Flynn's conversation with the Russian was incidental and should never have been unmasked since he as an American citizen was not supposed to have been eavesdropped on. The bigger issue is the spying on American citizens and the leak of Flynn.


As for Sessions you hit the nail on the head. 

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@JohnnyReb @Hedley_Lammar @breckenridge


Kinda funny that Hedley seems to have no issue with John Podesta's son making a bundle of money off dealing with the Russians. Hillary's campaign chief's son having a direct conflict of interest in representing the Russians. Talk about selling out to the Russians. LOL!

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@JohnnyReb @Hedley_Lammar @breckenridge  Manafort sold services to a guy more than 10 years earlier that happened to be cozy with Putin.


He was leading up the campaign for 6 months and has a relationship with the Russians.


Do you think its a coincidence Trump and others are now calling him a minor player ? They are distancing themselves.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb @breckenridge


Did Hedley say something about Russia connections? LOL!


"Rep. Louie Gohmert, an outspoken House Republican from Texas, is calling for a congressional investigation of John Podesta’s role with Rusnano, a state-run company founded by Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.


Podesta — Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman and former President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff — first made contact with the Russian firm in 2011, when he joined the boards and executive committees of three related entities: Boston-based Joule Unlimited; Rotterdam-based Joule Global Holdings; Joule Global Stichting, the company’s controlling interest. All are high-tech renewable energy enterprises.


Three months after Podesta’s arrival, Joule Unlimited accepted a 1 billion ruble investment from Rusnano, amounting to $35 million in U.S. currency. The firm also awarded a Joule board seat in February 2012 to Anatoly Chubais, Rusnano’s CEO, who has been depicted as a corrupt figure."


http://dailycaller.com/2017/03/21/exclusive-podesta-was-board-member-of-firm-linked-to-russian-investors/

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @Doom a classical liberal @JohnnyReb @breckenridge


Nope. Apples to apples. Podesta was Hilz campaign chief and was actively involved in Russian interests as was his son who made a bundle of money directly representing Russian interests. 


Hand over the white flag since you cannot in any way, shape, or form refute the Clinton campaign manager being directly and financially involved with Russian interests. 

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Resist Trump @Doom a classical liberal @Hedley_Lammar @JohnnyReb @breckenridge


Nope. I still oppose several of Trump's policies, particularly his opposition to free trade and pro tariff policies which I think are harmful. I am, however, ecstatic over his war on burdensome regulation. This benefits all of us. 


I thought Hilz would actually be the lesser of the 2 evils but given the things Trump is doing to roll back regulation and his superb Gorsuch nomination I am for the most part pleasantly surprised. Still gotta disagree though with his trade policies though.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@Hedley_Lammar @Doom a classical liberal @Resist Trump @JohnnyReb @breckenridge


Like I said. The same polls that showed him going down in defeat. Keep sticking to your polls if it makes you feel better. And while you're at it do some reading about the concept of stated preferences vs revealed preferences. Hint- it has a lot to do with the stunning Brexit vote, with the stunning Trump near landslide, and probably has a lot to do with the current poll  numbers you reference.