Due to a lack of proper options and very little guidance from the federal government, Governor Robert Bentley on Monday chose not to confine Alabama to an "essential health benefits" plan under the Affordable Care Act.
Governor Bentley explained his decision in a letter to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"As you are aware, I am a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act," Governor Bentley wrote. "As both a physician and a governor, I have determined that it is irresponsible and short-sighted to make a decision on essential health benefits by confining the decision to a select few plans and without having been offered clear guidance from the federal government."
Under the Affordable Care Act, "essential health benefits" were to be established by states as a foundation for medical coverage in the years 2014 and 2015. However, Governor Bentley said the Affordable Care Act does not present options that consumers need in order to control costs and actually receive higher-quality care.
"I truly believe that in order to control costs, consumers themselves must be a part of any equation. As such, I am a strong supporter of health savings accounts," Governor Bentley said. "Health savings accounts empower the consumer in all aspects of health care decision making. The Affordable Care Act includes many provisions, all supposedly geared toward making health insurance affordable, yet it does not include any significant mention of health savings accounts. I contend that the law does not make health insurance affordable and negatively affects consumer choice."
"Health savings accounts provide what the ACA does not: a consumer-oriented, marketplace-driven option for health coverage," Governor Bentley added.
Without such an option, and without further information from the federal government, Governor Bentley said it would be irresponsible for him to commit Alabama to a specific benefits plan.
"The parameters placed on the selection of the essential health benefits benchmark plan do not allow states to select innovative mechanisms, such as health savings accounts, or a variation thereof," Governor Bentley said. "As such, I decline to make a decision on the essential health benefits benchmark plan. There is simply not enough valid information available now to make an informed choice for such an important decision."
Animal Tracks for 5-22-2013
This weeks Animal Tracks features some very lovable animals who are in need of good homes.
Wallace Honors Spring 2013 Nursing Students
Wallace Community College recently conferred credentials upon spring 2013 graduates of the associate degree and practical nursing programs at the Dothan Civic Center. The graduates...
Sessions Remarks On Coalition Letter, Growing Opposition To Gang Of Eight's Proposal
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a statement regarding today's letter from a broad coalition of national...
Alabama Ready to Assist Oklahoma as Needed in Tornado Recovery
Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday said various state agencies in Alabama are in contact with their counterparts in Oklahoma to offer any assistance needed in the recovery from Monday's...
Video Extra: Health Minute - Benefits Of Eating Greek Yogurt
Let's talk yogurt.
Georgia Highway Officials Look To Cut Traffic Deaths Involving Bicyclists
Highway safety officials and cycling advocates are calling on Georgians to make 2013 a safer year for cyclists in Georgia.
Governor Bentley Issues Statement On Deadly Oklahoma Tornado
Governor Robert Bentley issued a statement following the deadly tornado that struck Oklahoma on Monday afternoon.
Video Extra: Yahoo Buys Tumblr
Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer has gone shopping...
Lawmakers Say 'No' To Gov. Bentley's School Tax Credit Amendment
The legislature turned back Governor Bentley's executive amendment to delay school tax credits.
Gun Bill Passes Alabama Legislature On Final Day
A controversial gun bill passed the Alabama legislature on the last day of the session.