ATLANTA — Georgia’s insurance commissioner will keep the state out of the first phase of a new federal health care law that would offer subsidized premiums to people with health problems.
In a letter the Associated Press obtained yesterday, Republican John Oxendine said Georgia should not take part in creation of an insurance pool, backed by $5 billion in federal money, that would help high-risk people who have been uninsured for at least six months.
Federal health officials said they will run a coverage program in the state if Georgia does not take part.
In the letter to Kathleen Sebelius, US health and human services secretary, Oxendine said he has no confidence that the program will not be a burden on Georgia taxpayers. The program is funded by federal money, but Oxendine said he is concerned that down the road the state will have to foot the bill.
The state could override Oxendine and push through legislation to participate in the program, but the chances of that happening in the GOP-controlled General Assembly are slim.
Sebelius gave states an April 30 deadline to say whether they would participate.