Deal gave his endorsement to the Georgia Healthcare Freedom and ACA Noncompliance Act, which was co-sponsored by state Reps. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs) and Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock).
The bill will bar state agencies and resources from being used to implement any health insurance-related provisions of the vast federal law. It will also prohibit the state from starting an exchange for the program and keep state resources from being used to advocate for an expansion of Medicaid.
“This legislation sends a clear message from Georgia to the federal government: We will not be compelled to dedicate state resources for federal purposes,” Caldwell said Wednesday. “If the administration wants Obamacare in Georgia, they will have to pay for and implement it.”
Turner echoed Caldwell’s sentiments.
“Obamacare is the greatest federal overreach in my lifetime. It creates some terrible burdens on our average citizens in our country, our business owners, even people who are just trying to get health care,” he said Wednesday. “I’m proud of the work we were able to do to establish a policy in Georgia that we’re going to stand against Obamacare. We really felt like something needed to be done, and the people in our districts really felt like something needed to be done.”
Turner and Caldwell worked with other lawmakers last summer to draft the bill, which was similar to one considered in South Carolina.
In the beginning, some dismissed the bill as a Republican attempt to lash out at the Obama administration and an election year effort that would go nowhere.
Caldwell said it wasn’t “a sure thing from the onset.”
“Along with many others, we had doubts about our chances as final passage,” he said. “One of the strongest tools we had was the support of the grassroots, including a 37,000-signature petition.”
The signatures were collected by Georgians for Healthcare Freedom, headed by Carolyn Cosby, who also chairs the Canton Tea Party.
Turner laughed when asked if he remembered the critics. He said those who had low expectations for the bill mostly focused on the fact it was freshman and sophomore representatives pushing it.
“The naysayers doomed our efforts before we even got started,” Turner said. “We realized it wasn’t going to be something that we were going to be able to do by ourselves.”
Turner described the bill’s passage as a “team effort,” with help from other legislators and House leadership. He added it was a “huge boon” to get former Majority Whip Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Buckhead) on board.