State Insurance Commissioner says he's obstructing Obamacare
ATLANTA (CBS46) -
Georgia Democratic leaders accused the state's insurance chief of trying to prevent the Affordable Care Act from working.
State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens at a Floyd County Republican Party meeting said he is trying obstruct the law, commonly known as Obamacare, according to a Youtube video.
"The problem is Obamacare. We got to determine what we can do to solve the problem. Let me tell you what we are doing, everything in our power to (be) an obstructionist," Hudgens said.
The Affordable Care Act is a controversial federal law passed by Congress, signed by the president and upheld by the Supreme Court.
Federal law requires states to have counselors known as navigators to help guide people through the various coverage plans.
Under federal law, navigators must pass 20 hours of training.
Georgia passed its own law, mandating navigators get an extra 10 hours.
Hudgens implied he's using the state law to undermine a key provision of Obamacare.
"The Obamacare law says we cannot require them to be an insurance agent, so we said, 'Fine, we'll just (require) them to be (a) licensed navigator.' Basically you take an insurance agent's test, erase the name, you write navigator test," Hudgens said.
Hudgens did not respond to requests for an interview, but a spokesman for the commissioner said, "We haven't done anything to obstruct the law."
State Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Steve Henson accused Republicans of making it tougher for navigators to get certified and making it harder for the uninsured to get proper information.
"There's no doubt they're created as many barriers as they can. It has decreased many-fold the number of people we would have had become navigators," Henson said.
Georgia currently has only six licensed navigators.
State Rep. Richard Smith sponsored the Georgia law.
"All we did was require them to have a little additional training," he said.
When asked if the state law is an obstructionist tactic, Smith responded, "No, we had two Democrats sign off on that particular bill, and one of them was the House Minority Leader."
House Minority Leader Rep. Stacey Abrams co-sponsored the Georgia law, mandating the navigators get extra training.
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