With little ammunition and almost zero chance of success, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens is fighting a last-ditch battle to derail the Affordable Care Act.
Key provisions of the law begin to take effect in 22 days, and Hudgens is refusing to lift a finger to smooth the way for the act or help consumers make sense of it. Instead he launches scorching broadsides against “Obamacare,” preferring blanket condemnations to specific criticism.
“The problem is Obamacare,” Hudgens recently told a partisan crowd in Rome. “And we’re doing everything in our power to be an obstructionist.”
Later, in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hudgens said, “I’ll be real honest with you. I’m not going to do anything in my power to make this law successful. Now, I’m not going to violate the law. And I’m fulfilling all my responsibilities. But I’m not going to do anything to try to enhance its success.”
Among his non-enhancements is a law that creates stiff standards for so-called insurance “navigators” who will help Georgians make sense of new health coverage options under the Affordable Care Act. He was also behind a law that requires insurance companies to declare, on their bills, how much of a given cost increase is a result of Obamacare.
Hudgens recently made a noisy attempt to stall approval of dozens of health plans that private companies will sell on a new insurance website, called an exchange, starting Oct. 1. And he stands firmly behind Gov. Nathan Deal’s decisions not to expand the state’s Medicaid program for the poor and to leave it up to the federal government to build the exchange.