Health Care Repeal Would Have Costly Consequences for Georgia Consumers and Small Businesses

Georgia PIRG Education Fund

Atlanta – Consumers and small businesses in Georgia will face significantly higher insurance premiums and could see costly coverage denials and price discrimination if efforts to repeal the federal health care law prevail in Congress or in the courts, according to The Cost of Repeal: Examining the Impact on Georgia of Repealing the New Federal Health Care Law, a new report released today by Georgia PIRG. 

According to the report, in the short term, repeal would strip tax credits from 120,300 Georgia small businesses. And over the longer term, the cost of offering employer-based health insurance could jump by more than $3,000 a year over current law.

 “In today’s economy, the higher costs that would result from repeal are the last thing that Georgia consumers and businesses need,” said Stephanie Ali, Georgia PIRG program associate. 

The new Georgia PIRG report draws on data from independent sources, including the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, other government agencies, business groups and health analysts. It finds the following: 

·      Repealing the new state health insurance exchange would drive premiums on the individual market up to 20 percent higher for the same coverage by 2016.

·      Without the new law’s insurance reforms, the 21.6 percent of Georgia residents who have pre-existing conditions, ranging from asthma to cancer, will continue to face coverage denials and price discrimination when purchasing their own insurance.

·      If the insurance reforms are repealed, Georgia women will continue to pay higher prices than men for health coverage.

·      Rolling back last year’s law would drive up employer health costs, leading to 13,394 fewer jobs created per year in Georgia by the end of the decade.

·      Outright repeal would pull $14.6 billion in federal Medicaid dollars out of the state’s economy and terminate establishment or expansion of 163 community health centers across Georgia.

The U.S. House of Representatives is now scheduled to vote on a bill to repeal the new law outright later this month. Governor Perdue has signed onto a federal lawsuit urging the roll back of the law and Governor-Elect Nathan Deal fought the initial passing of the bill while in the House of Representatives. Washington’s intensely partisan debate over health care threatens to spill over to Atlanta, as the Governor and state legislators consider key implementation decisions. 

The Cost of Repeal recommends a set of pro-active policy changes on which supporters and opponents of last year’s health care law should be able to find common ground.  These include:

1.     Using the substantial authority the state has under current law to design a health insurance exchange that is adapted to meet the needs of our state’s markets, consumers, and businesses.

2.     Taking additional steps to contain health care costs, like using information technology to ensure that doctors receive the latest research about which treatments are most effective – at the patient’s bedside.  

3.     Crack down on balance-billing, a practice whereby hospitals or providers accept payment from a patient’s insurance plan, then charge additional amounts-above and beyond the usual co-pays and cost sharing.


“Before our elected officials join this headlong rush to repeal in Washington, they should consider the consequences for our state, and look for solutions that hold down costs, not increase them,” said Ali.

Our current health care system is failing our patients, and health reform is the closest thing we have now to giving our patients a chance at a healthier life,” said Dr. Gayathi Suresh Kumar, a physician who works at Grady Hospital. “As physicians on behalf of our patients, we ask that Governor Deal will join our hands in fighting to keep our health reform bill. Our patients need this.”