Health care in Georgia


Senators vote to open debate on health care law

Republican senators voted Tuesday to open debate on revising U.S. health care law, advancing a signature campaign pledge following a tense and dramatic week on Capitol Hill. But the party voted to do so only with the barest of margins, an illustration of the challenges ahead as leaders look to unite a divided and unruly caucus. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, Georgia’s two GOP senators, provided...


David Perdue rips into Democrats, CBO in searing health care speech

WASHINGTON — A longtime U.S. Senate tradition is for junior lawmakers of the party in power to preside over the chamber’s floor debate. As a first-term Republican, Georgia’s David Perdue has spent his share of time in the Senate president’s chair over the last two years, watching over what are often mundane speeches. Perdue was on the late shift Monday...
Senate to push for health care debate, but which plan?

Senate to push for health care debate, but which plan?

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday to kick off debate on legislation that would repeal Obamacare, but what’s in store is still a mystery. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to disclose whether he plans to immediately push a replacement for the 2010 health care law or simply a repeal-only plan, much like what the Senate voted on two years ago. Working with the slimmest of GOP majorities...
Latest health bill estimates: up to 1 million fewer Georgians covered

Latest health bill estimates: up to 1 million fewer Georgians covered

Senate GOP leaders have made change after change to their health care legislation to try to persuade Republican senators to vote for it. But that has not changed the flow of estimates showing that while the government would save money, large numbers of Americans — including more than a half-million Georgians — would lose health insurance. It was the same thing with estimates for two new...

Senate health care chaos creates anxiety in Georgia

WASHINGTON — Capitol Hill’s health care heartburn has made its way to Georgia, where local stakeholders have been left anxious, confused and evaluating their own next steps after the Senate GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare came to a screeching halt. Local insurance companies urged Congress for action and certainty — and to do it quickly...

Tom Price holds the keys to Obamacare after Senate bill collapse

WASHINGTON — With the Senate’s health care overhaul dead in its current form, Obamacare lives another day. That leaves a familiar Georgia face, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price,  in charge of implementing the law, one that he’s vilified for the last seven years. As health chief, the former Roswell congressman has nearly unparalleled power...
Georgia stakeholders anxious and confused over health care fight

Georgia stakeholders anxious and confused over health care fight

As the Senate was laying the groundwork to repeal Obamacare back in January, Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson insisted that tearing down the 7-year-old law without a replacement in hand was “unsustainable and impractical.” “It’s wrong for us to say we’re going to repeal Obamacare without replacing it with a plan that we know works and has the opportunity (to work),&rdquo...

Isakson weighs options as Obamacare replacement effort collapses

WASHINGTON — As the Senate was laying the groundwork for its repeal of Obamacare back in January, Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson insisted that tearing down the seven-year-old law without a replacement was “unsustainable and impractical.” “It’s wrong for us to say we’re going to repeal Obamacare without replacing it with a plan that we know works and...
Georgia insurance commissioner won’t seek re-election in 2018

Georgia insurance commissioner won’t seek re-election in 2018

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, who has faced criticism in recent years as auto coverage rates soared, announced Monday that he won’t seek a third term in 2018. Hudgens served in the state House and Senate from the Athens area, rising to chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee, before running in 2010 to replace longtime Commissioner John Oxendine, who ran unsuccessfully for...
Senate health care rewrite in Washington doesn’t change Georgia minds

Senate health care rewrite in Washington doesn’t change Georgia minds

Before U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a rewrite of the Republicans’ health care bill on Thursday, Georgia hospitals, patient advocates and budget hawks had strong feelings about the bill. They still do. And they haven’t changed much. For rural hospitals, the latest revision of the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare is just rearranging the deck chairs on the...

Senate faces do-or-die moment on health care

WASHINGTON – He might not have realized it at the time, but Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue may have perfectly summed up the GOP’s current predicament on health care. “If you fix it, then nobody is going to be 100 percent happy with what you do,” the first-term Republican told reporters on Tuesday afternoon. “If you don’t fix it, then it&rsquo...
Citing uncertainty, Blue Cross seeks big rate increases in Georgia

Citing uncertainty, Blue Cross seeks big rate increases in Georgia

In a blow to consumers insured on the state’s Obamacare exchange plan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia has proposed to raise rates an average of 40.6 percent in 2018. Blue Cross said that if policy in Washington weakens the exchange, it may even pull out of the Georgia Obamacare market. The insurance company is the only one left that insures residents in every county in the state under the...
Blue Cross Obamacare prices could spike over 25 percent in Georgia

Blue Cross Obamacare prices could spike over 25 percent in Georgia

Prices for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia customers on the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange could spike over 25 percent next year. In 96 of Georgia’s 159 counties, Blue Cross, owned by Anthem, is the only remaining insurer on the exchange. The Georgia Department of Insurance released the proposals filed by insurance companies that want to offer plans in 2018. The companies...

Isakson, Perdue seek last-minute changes to health care bill

WASHINGTON — Georgia U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue are not seen as swing votes on the Republican health care bill. But that hasn’t stopped the two GOP lawmakers from looking to secure last-minute benefits for Georgia’s sickest children and some of the state’s medical providers as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell  feverishly...
Isakson, Perdue aim to aid Georgia’s charity hospitals in health bill

Isakson, Perdue aim to aid Georgia’s charity hospitals in health bill

Georgia U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue are not seen as swing votes on the Republican health care bill. As key allies to Senate GOP leaders and President Donald Trump, both are viewed as relatively reliable “yes” votes for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Georgia governor on health plan: ‘We want to be treated fairly’

Georgia governor on health plan: ‘We want to be treated fairly’

Gov. Nathan Deal took a cautious stance on the embattled Senate health bill Thursday, urging lawmakers not to “punish” Georgia and other states that didn’t expand their Medicaid program while stopping short of opposing the measure. Deal said in an interview that he was concerned about changes to the Medicaid program that could leave the states to pick up the tab. But he said he wanted...

With Senate health care bill in jeopardy, Perdue, Isakson to huddle with Trump

WASHINGTON — Georgia’s two U.S. senators were planning to join many of their GOP colleagues at the White House Tuesday afternoon after Senate leaders abruptly hit the breaks on a health care overhaul they had been planning to bring to a vote later this week. Republicans David Perdue and Johnny Isakson both voiced support for their party leaders’ decision to take the July 4th...
Senate health plan may leave 680,000 more Georgians without insurance

Senate health plan may leave 680,000 more Georgians without insurance

After two high-profile revisions, the GOP health care plan is still expected to lead to hundreds of thousands more Georgians losing health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office released its score of the Senate plan’s impacts late Monday. The nonpartisan office estimated that 22 million more Americans would be without health insurance at the end of 10 years if the plan becomes law. Georgia&rsquo...
Georgians: Fix health care prices, stop partisanship

Georgians: Fix health care prices, stop partisanship

After the U.S. Senate finally revealed its proposed federal health care bill, advocates revved up their rhetoric with extreme positions, loud cheers and denunciations.“INJUSTICE!” blared the handmade sign of a protester Friday outside U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s office. The Senate’s bill “is morally repugnant,” said the man holding the sign, Michael Blundell of Paulding...
New health care proposal would have big impact on Georgia

New health care proposal would have big impact on Georgia

Georgians, like the rest of the nation, finally came face to face with the U.S. Senate’s long-hidden health care proposal Thursday. And one way or another, they said, its impact on the state could be profound. Liberals decried its potential impact on women’s health and care for the poor. After a quick look at the provisions of the Senate version of the American Health Care Act, one expert...
Georgia children’s health factors improving but among U.S.’ lowest

Georgia children’s health factors improving but among U.S.’ lowest

Georgia’s children rank among the nation’s least healthy, according to an annual report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In only seven other states does a greater portion of the children lack health insurance. In only five other states are more babies born underweight. Georgia also ranked worse than the national average in several other categories related to children’s health...

AJC Poll: Georgia 6th voters reject House GOP’s health care overhaul

Health care is high on the minds of voters in Georgia’s 6th congressional district, but most disapprove of the House GOP’s current proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare. More than 80 percent of the 745 likely voters surveyed last week in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll listed health care as an “extremely important” or “very important” issue for them as they&rsquo...
Blue Cross in Georgia to limit emergency room coverage

Blue Cross in Georgia to limit emergency room coverage

The Obamacare exchange may survive next year in rural Georgia. But patients who depend on its last remaining insurer are now learning there’s a catch. Over the past week letters have arrived at homes throughout the state giving patients a jolt. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, the only insurer on the exchange for 96 of the state’s 159 counties, is telling patients with individual...
720,000 Georgians could go without coverage under new GOP health plan

720,000 Georgians could go without coverage under new GOP health plan

If the latest Republican plan to repeal Obamacare becomes law, about 720,000 more Georgians could go without health insurance, a Georgia State University expert said Wednesday. That’s Georgia’s share of the 23 million nationwide that would lose health insurance under the revamped GOP proposal, according to a long-awaited report from the Congressional Budget Office. The news added to new...
A guide to the 6th Congressional District race

A guide to the 6th Congressional District race

The nationally watched race to represent the 6th Congressional District, which stretches from east Cobb County across north Fulton County to north DeKalb County, will be decided June 20 in a runoff between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff. The seat opened when Tom Price vacated it to become President Donald Trump’s secretary of health and human services. Here’s a look at...
Last statewide insurer in Georgia Obamacare market may stay

Last statewide insurer in Georgia Obamacare market may stay

The last insurance company still serving patients in all regions of Georgia under the Obamacare exchange says it won’t back out — yet. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, the only remaining company to serve all 159 counties in the state, has filed its annual plans for next year’s insurance market exchange under the Affordable Care Act. In its initial filing, it filed plans for the...
Georgia Republicans work on health care overhaul

Georgia Republicans work on health care overhaul

Some Georgia leaders have looked away from the turmoil in Washington this week to work on the Republican health care replacement plan. Testimony from Georgia State University experts this week showed serious issues to tackle. Just a couple of examples:Small businesses are crucial for the economy but terrible as a source of health insurance. When you break down Georgia households by the size...

Johnny Isakson and David Perdue’s opening offers on health care

WASHINGTON – One could say that Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson kept close tabs on the House’s tumultuous effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this spring. In fact, Georgia’s senior senator followed much of the initial debate in real time from his hospital bed as he recovered from a pair of surgeries on his lower spine. “Involuntary,&rdquo...

Georgians sort through health care changes as Senate takes up effort

By Ariel Hart, Misty Williams and Tamar Hallerman When the U.S. House of Representatives finally made good on its promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act Thursday, Josh Schiffer felt a pit in his stomach. Schiffer’s five-year-old daughter has a congenital heart defect, the kind of pre-existing condition that insurance companies used to refuse to cover or charge with outlandish premium prices...

How Georgia’s congressmen voted on replacing Obamacare

WASHINGTON — After months of arm twisting, false starts and political football, the House finally went on the record on the Republican health care plan Thursday. The chamber ultimately passed the measure, known as the American Health Care Act, by a razor-thin 217-213 margin. The vote was strictly along party lines, with 20 Republicans crossing over to vote with every Democrat...
BREAKING: House passes Obamacare repeal after months of infighting

BREAKING: House passes Obamacare repeal after months of infighting

The House voted narrowly entirely along party lines Thursday to pass a Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare after months of infighting and false starts. The legislation squeaked through the chamber with only one vote to spare, 217-213. No Democrats voted in favor of the bill, known as the American Health Care Act, and 20 Republicans rejected it. Members of Georgia’s congressional...
BREAKING: House to vote on Obamacare repeal by 2 p.m.

BREAKING: House to vote on Obamacare repeal by 2 p.m.

The House is expected to vote on the GOP health plan to replace the Affordable Care Act between 1:15 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. today. And after months of infighting and false starts, it looks like House Republicans may finally have enough votes to pass the bill, called the American Health Care Act. They need 216 votes to pass it, and in a procedural vote this morning 235 approved a rule to vote on the bill...
Donald Trump’s 100 days leave imprint on Georgia

Donald Trump’s 100 days leave imprint on Georgia

One hundred days into the tenure of the most mold-shattering administration in modern history and President Donald Trump has moved at breakneck pace to strip away federal regulations, reset the country’s economic relationships abroad and dismantle the biggest pieces of his predecessor’s legacy. Georgians now log on to Twitter to gauge the state of mind of the most powerful man in the world...
Eighth rural hospital to close since 2010

Eighth rural hospital to close since 2010

Yet another rural Georgia hospital is going under, in one of the state’s poorest counties. The company that owns Jenkins Medical Center in Millen announced this week that the hospital would shut down after decades in operation. Patients who can afford the gas or the time for an ambulance ride may now go to the company’s hospital in Screven County 20 miles away. It’s the eighth acute...
A guide to the candidates in Georgia’s special election

A guide to the candidates in Georgia’s special election

A field of 18 candidates is running in Tuesday’s special election to represent the 6th Congressional District, which stretches from east Cobb County across north Fulton County to north DeKalb County. The seat opened when Tom Price vacated it to become President Donald Trump’s secretary of health and human services. With such a large number of candidates, a runoff is almost certain. It...
Georgia Senate hopefuls eye health care, transportation and schools

Georgia Senate hopefuls eye health care, transportation and schools

Before Tom Price was appointed to be health and human services secretary, before he was a member of the U.S. House and chairman of the House Budget Committee and before he was a state senator, he was a doctor. In east Cobb County and Sandy Springs, a subregion of Price’s former congressional district, an election for an open state Senate seat that has drawn wide interest from the medical community...
Leading Georgia Sixth District candidates on the issues

Leading Georgia Sixth District candidates on the issues

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked the top contenders in the 6th Congressional District special election, based on public polling, how they would approach several issues facing the district and the country today.  Bob Gray: The U.S. Constitution, as the governing legal document for the country, does not establish health care as a right. Further, given the design of the Constitution, which...
Protesters continue to press Georgia’s Perdue to hold town halls

Protesters continue to press Georgia’s Perdue to hold town halls

For 12 straight weeks, dozens of protesters have gathered outside U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s downtown Atlanta office to demand that he hold an in-person town hall meeting. This week, however, they decamped to a grassy strip outside a Brookhaven hotel where he was speaking to make a more personal appeal. The crowd of more than 50, frustrated by Donald Trump’s young presidency and attempts...
A hint that Blue Cross/Blue Shield could withdraw from health care exchanges

A hint that Blue Cross/Blue Shield could withdraw from health care exchanges

Over at Georgia Health News, Andy Miller has the most worrisome news of the morning – a strong hint that the parent company of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia may be pulling out of a number of its exchange markets across the country. Writes Miller: In Georgia, Blue Cross is currently the only exchange health insurer in 96 of the 159 counties. Even a partial pullout would create a...

Isakson open to bipartisan health care negotiations — just don’t call it a ‘gang’

WASHINGTON – At home in Marietta recovering from a pair of back surgeries, Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson has had a lot of time to watch C-SPAN over the last few weeks. That’s included following the twists and turns of the House’s since-collapsed effort to replace Obamacare. In an interview Thursday amid his whirlwind, day-long return to Washington, Isakson said he had been...

Georgia’s lone GOP health care holdout urges leaders to try again

WASHINGTON – The lone Georgia Republican to go against his party leaders on health care thinks the GOP should take another stab at repealing and replacing Obamacare. “Our hearts are ready,” U.S. Rep. Jody Hice of Monroe said in a brief interview Tuesday. A member of the House Freedom Caucus, the group of ultra-conservatives who joined with moderate Republicans to sink the American...
After GOP health plan fails, Georgia explores Medicaid changes

After GOP health plan fails, Georgia explores Medicaid changes

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's office had no immediate comment on the Senate health bill, but he had deep concerns about the House version. This story was published on March 28, 2017. Gov. Nathan Deal’s administration is exploring changes to Georgia’s Medicaid program after a sweeping Republican overhaul of the Affordable Care Act was scuttled last week in a stunning rebuke to Donald...
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