Georgia's Insurance Commissioner Refuses to Participate in Health Care Program

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," April 12, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: Well, anyway, who needs to sue them when you could just say no to them? Georgia’s insurance commissioner not waiting for the courts. He is taking action against the new health care law now.

Republican John Oxendine says that Georgia won’t participate in this so-called insurance pool for very high-risk people, the commissioner dashing off a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, saying that he has no confidence the program won’t burden Georgia taxpayers. Mr. Oxendine joins me right now.

Very good to have you, sir.


CAVUTO: Did the secretary respond to that letter?

OXENDINE: We have not heard back. We just sent it up there today. I’m sure we will be hearing back from her soon.

CAVUTO: Because the role of the government, then, I have heard the approach will be, well, if you are not going to play along, we will just take over what you do federally. What do you say to that?

OXENDINE: Well, of course, the federal government could create a health pool if they wanted to.

The bottom line is, this is a federal law, it’s a federal program, and they’re wanting to state to implement it. This is phase one of the implementation of the federal health care law. It’s supposed to be in place by July 1 of this year. And I’m not going to create a high-risk pool that might burden taxpayers. You know, there’s only $5 billion they’re setting aside for the next three-and-a-half years for all of America. What happens if that money runs out? What if the costs are higher than what they give us? Are we going to come to our treasury? We’re laying off schoolteachers, laying off police officers in Georgia, just like a lot of states. We can’t take another unfunded mandate from Washington. And I’m not going to subject our treasury to it. We’re not going to help them put this bill in place.

CAVUTO: So, you’re not even going by way of the courts. You’re just refusing to participate in something that is a given in this health care law, and that is states help fund this — this high-risk pool. You want no part of it. But the high-risk pools are being implemented in state after state. Can you legally do what you are doing?

OXENDINE: Yes, we can. Georgia is a sovereign state. There is nothing that forces us to do it. We don’t have to do it. They’re asking us to implement this. And we’re simply saying no.

CAVUTO: Well, they say — now, I don’t know what is the truth, Commissioner. And I know you’re running for governor, so they say that you’re really scoring political points here, when, in fact, you do have to do it.

So, I — you know, what’s the deal?

OXENDINE: I disagree, Neil. We don’t have to do it. She asked us if we would create this pool. She asked us to do it.

There’s no requirement that we have to do it. The federal government can do it if they want, but we don’t have to do it, as a sovereign entity. We’re not required. And we’re not going to jeopardize our state treasury.

I mean, the cost for Georgia alone, if you had 15,000 people, the cost of Georgia alone could be some billion dollars over the next three-and-a-half years. You know, that’s — where are we going to get the money? We can’t pay it. And I don’t trust the federal government to take care of it.

CAVUTO: All right, we will watch it closely.

Thank you, Commissioner. Thank you very, very much.

Content and Programming Copyright 2010 Fox News Network, Inc. Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.