Gov. Nathan Deal won’t say whether he approves of the House’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but he said Thursday it could lead to “interesting” changes at the state level.
The governor was among the louder GOP critics of the doomed March attempt to overhaul the nation’s healthcare policy, which he said would “punish” Georgia and other states that didn’t expand the Medicaid program.
Deal said in an interview it’s too early to weigh in on the new proposal, which was approved later Thursday.
But he sounded a somewhat skeptical note about changes that would add $8 billion for so-called high-risk pools to help cover insurance costs for people with preexisting conditions. Georgia lawmakers authorized creating such a pool in the state a few years ago, Deal said, but it’s never been funded.
“It’s going to be interesting to see if the federal money that they’re going to allocate for those high-risk pools is going to be sufficient for states like ours. There are many unanswered questions,” he said. “But I congratulate them if they get it passed in the House. It will be a major step forward.”
President Donald Trump and House leaders have made rolling back Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement a top priority, but their last attempt fell apart after vast defections from conservatives and moderates. Thursday’s vote passed by a tight margin despite 20 GOP defectors.
House leaders credit an amendment that adds more federal funding to the high-risk pool program that won over wavering lawmakers worried the legislation doesn’t do enough to help the sick.