Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine responded ahead of deadline to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius's request for states' plans regarding high-risk pools. He was the first to say "no thanks" to $5 billion in federal money to help insure high-risk residents.
"Unfortunately, I have no confidence in any federal assertion that this so-called temporary program will not burden the taxpayers of Georgia. I cannot commit the state of Georgia to...a scheme which I believe the Supreme Court will hold to be unconstitutional, leads to the further expansion of the federal government, undermines the financial security of our nation," Oxendine, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor, wrote in his letter to Sebelius. "I am concerned that the high risk insurance program will ultimately become the financial responsibility of Georgians at a time when our state is furloughing teachers, laying off employees, and cutting public safety and education funding," he added.
The state could still override Oxendine and push through legislation to participate in the program, but the chances of that happening in the Republican-controlled General Assembly are low, reports the Associated Press.