Health care in Georgia


Obamacare enrollment surging, so far, in Georgia, across nation

Nick Anderson prepared for weeks for open enrollment as an Affordable Care Act navigator in his west-central Georgia territory. And as he hit up local spots asking to post fliers and publicize the Nov. 1 start date, he noticed something different this year.“They’re way more energized about spreading the word,” he said.


Georgia’s senators diverge on health care as Congress hits juncture

Georgia’s senators diverge on health care as Congress hits juncture

WASHINGTON — After spending nearly a year focused on a single policy goal — repealing and replacing Obamacare — congressional Republicans have hit a critical juncture. They don’t have the votes right now to kill the 2010 health care law, so do they undermine it and risk taking the blame for higher premiums or try to stabilize the system but anger their...
Georgia customers scramble after Trump stops Obamacare subsidies

Georgia customers scramble after Trump stops Obamacare subsidies

Kirk Lyman-Barner’s phone began buzzing at 7:30 a.m. Friday and didn’t stop for hours. An Americus insurance broker who specializes in Obamacare policies, Lyman-Barner is used to being a familiar face around town. But even his morning coffee run at Cafe Campesino was interrupted repeatedly by clients, all of whom were worried about how much their monthly health care premiums would increase...
Trump eases health care regulations

Trump eases health care regulations

President Donald Trump’s move to loosen some of the federal rules governing so-called associated health plans and short-term insurance on Thursday garnered mixed reaction in Georgia. Republicans lauded the changes for increasing flexibility and competition and providing more lower-cost options to locals with few or no alternatives to Obamacare. Democrats and some health groups, meanwhile, warned...
Survey: Health centers hit by Congressional funding uncertainty

Survey: Health centers hit by Congressional funding uncertainty

Across the nation, community health centers that have furnished care for decades have already felt the impact of Congress’ inability to budget consistently, according to a new survey. The National Association of Community Health Centers surveyed its members and said one-quarter reported that they were already finding it harder to recruit and retain staff. Workers don’t know whether the...
Georgians weary of failed Obamacare repeal but want health care action

Georgians weary of failed Obamacare repeal but want health care action

For the third time, congressional Republicans admitted defeat Tuesday on a push to repeal Obamacare, seemingly for good. In Georgia, opponents and supporters alike were weary and frustrated at the wasted time and energy that Congress has cost the nation. But they were not spent: They immediately spoke of what needs to be done now. Providers of indigent care called for Congress to direct its attention...
Isakson open to bipartisan health talks as latest repeal effort sputters

Isakson open to bipartisan health talks as latest repeal effort sputters

WASHINGTON — Georgia’s senior U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson says he is open to resuming bipartisan talks to stabilize Obamacare’s health insurance markets as his party’s last-ditch effort to replace the 7-year-old law hovers on the verge of collapse. The three-term Republican indicated on Monday evening that he would still prefer to scrap the Affordable...
Graham-Cassidy obscures deadlines for other key actions on health care

Graham-Cassidy obscures deadlines for other key actions on health care

Nearly one hundred and fifty million dollars to keep Georgia hospitals’ indigent care afloat. Funding for the PeachCare program that along with Medicaid covers about half of Georgia’s kids. Clear answers on Obamacare subsidies that Blue Cross said it needed to keep selling individual plans in metro Atlanta. Those are some things that Congress has not taken care of — or even, in some...
How will GOP’s last run at health care overhaul impact Georgia

How will GOP’s last run at health care overhaul impact Georgia

The Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare seemed all but dead this summer. Now it’s not. Again. Against all odds, Georgians both for and against the effort are watching warily as GOP leaders try one last pass at taking down the signature health care law of the Obama administration before their ability to do so expires Sept. 30. What exactly the legislation’s impact would be...
Obamacare navigators see deep cuts in funds to guide recipients

Obamacare navigators see deep cuts in funds to guide recipients

In a letter she just received, Trinh Pham saw the yearly funding for her organization’s work guiding Obamacare enrollees drop from about $150,000 to roughly $10,000. Starting right now. “I’m shocked,” she said. She’s not the only one. Her organization, Boat People SOS-Atlanta, is one of a handful that employs “navigators” to educate Georgians on signing up...
Obamacare insurers’ 2018 rate increases to rise even more

Obamacare insurers’ 2018 rate increases to rise even more

Customers of the Obamacare exchange markets in Georgia got bad news this summer when insurers first disclosed the rates they want to charge next year. Not only were double-digit increases on the table — well over 50 percent for some plans — but some insurers flat-out said they might rise even more. Now the final deadline for rates is approaching. And according to state officials,...
Equifax, company in data breach, holds Obamacare customer info

Equifax, company in data breach, holds Obamacare customer info

The historic data breach at Atlanta-based Equifax is now raising stress levels in the world of health care. Equifax holds the federal contract to verify personal incomes for policyholders on the insurance exchanges of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. A spokeswoman for the federal government told Bloomberg News that the Obamacare data wasn’t part of the hack, though...
Congress faces monumental September to-do list

Congress faces monumental September to-do list

Lawmakers return to Washington on Tuesday to face a mountain of must-pass items for September, a workload that threatens to divide lawmakers as leaders look to avoid a government shutdown, debt default and dry coffers at the emergency management agency tasked with rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey. There are also items of state interest that Georgia lawmakers are hoping to advance, including halting...
Health care on Georgians’ front burner as Congress returns

Health care on Georgians’ front burner as Congress returns

Carol Lander’s family premiums went up by $500 a month this year alone. Deb Vance lost her insurance subsidy because she lost her income, so then she lost her doctor. Some Atlanta small businesses need to nail down their next health insurance plans fast, but can’t, because the ground is shifting so much. With the smoking ruins of the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare...
Georgia health care has many voices, one message: Time to act

Georgia health care has many voices, one message: Time to act

You’ve heard the numbers, health care is approaching 20 percent of GDP. Companies can’t afford it. Families can’t afford it. We have to do something to make it more affordable. And the first steps that were taken within the insurance area, they’re good steps. But we need to continue to bring to the table solutions to reduce cost, eliminate waste and improve quality. This is...
Georgians hit by Obamacare subsidy uncertainty

Georgians hit by Obamacare subsidy uncertainty

Georgia Obamacare customers already feeling the pain of rate hikes could be in for even worse if Washington doesn’t get its act together, researchers in the nation’s capital and Georgia said. President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have threatened a key subsidy that makes the Obamacare exchange market work. But they have not passed a new plan in its place. According to...
Georgia GOP reps meet healthy share of jeers, cheers at town halls

Georgia GOP reps meet healthy share of jeers, cheers at town halls

The seesawing crescendo of boos, cheers, one-liners and comebacks from the crowded pews seemed close to spinning out of control when U.S. Rep. Doug Collins set down his microphone, sat down quietly and asked for a “collective deep breath.” He represents the most conservative congressional district in Georgia — Donald Trump carried this North Georgia territory by nearly 80 percent...
Blue Cross Georgia pullback: questions and answers

Blue Cross Georgia pullback: questions and answers

Thousands of Georgians will have to find a new health insurance company next year when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia pulls out of the individual market for 74 counties, including those in metro Atlanta. It will be the first time in decades that Blue Cross has not served the individual market in the Atlanta area. The news has roiled the health insurance market and has customers and agents asking...
Blue Cross pulls back on Georgia coverage

Blue Cross pulls back on Georgia coverage

Citing federal uncertainty, Blue Cross Blue Shield will not offer individual health insurance coverage in metro Atlanta in 2018, the company said Monday. And it came perilously close to withdrawing entirely from Georgia’s individual market, documents show, but decided to stay in the state after intense negotiations. In 96 of the state’s 159 counties, Blue Cross is currently the only company ...

Georgia hospitals in line to lose millions due to inaction on health care

Officials at Grady Memorial and dozens of other Georgia hospitals breathed a sigh of relief when the GOP plan to scale back Medicaid recently failed in the U.S. Senate. But now, they say, they face a different threat. If Congress doesn’t act by early October, dozens of so-called safety-net hospitals such as Grady will lose tens of millions of dollars in...
Grady, Georgia hospitals stand to lose millions in federal payments

Grady, Georgia hospitals stand to lose millions in federal payments

Officials at Grady Memorial and dozens of other Georgia hospitals breathed a sigh of relief when the GOP plan to scale back Medicaid recently failed in the U.S. Senate. But now, they say, they face a different threat. If Congress doesn’t act by early October, dozens of so-called safety-net hospitals such as Grady will lose tens of millions of dollars in federal reimbursements for care they provide...
After Obamacare repeal fails, Georgia leaders to seek Medicaid waivers

After Obamacare repeal fails, Georgia leaders to seek Medicaid waivers

The collapse of the GOP health care overhaul has Georgia’s leaders wrestling over whether to stand pat and let a funding crisis continue to threaten the state’s fragile hospital system or seek changes that could open the spigots for more federal dollars. Amid uncertainty about how insurance markets will be affected by the U.S. Senate’s inability to repeal the Affordable Care...

Shock, anger, relief in Georgia after health care effort tanks

Christy Nelson survived thyroid cancer but has been fighting insomnia for months, terrified of the GOP effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. She and her husband, who has Crohn’s disease, depend on protections for pre-existing conditions to afford health coverage, and following the collapse of the repeal effort their relief is only slowly starting to bloom. &ldquo...
Alantans happy, disappointed repeal effort failed

Alantans happy, disappointed repeal effort failed

Are you happy that the GOP effort failed to repeal and replace Obamacare? Or disappointed? People express very strong beliefs about this, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reached out to a variety of people, public officials and others affected by this. Read the full story, and join the discussion with your comments, at http://www.myajc.com/news/state—regional-govt—politics/after-repeal-bill-failure-shock-relief-and-disappointment-georgia/5yjZhx6uLuGOR6bNrcGPwN/

Perdue, Isakson’s votes to repeal parts of Obamacare not enough to save effort

WASHINGTON — Georgia’s two Republican U.S. Senators, David Perdue and Johnny Isakson, voted in the wee hours of the morning Friday to back a scaled-back plan to repeal parts of Obamacare, but their support was not enough to save the GOP’s eleventh-hour gambit, which was narrowly rejected 49-51. The dramatic vote came shortly before 2 a.m., and only a few hours...

Isakson, Perdue back Senate’s new health care gambit

A new phrase gripped Georgia advocates for and against Obamacare repeal Thursday —  “Skinny Repeal”. After two Senate votes on previous proposals to scale back the 2010 health care law failed solidly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was said to be heading toward this stripped-down incarnation...

The byzantine ritual that sits between the GOP and health care reform

WASHINGTON — Sleep well, wear comfortable shoes and bring lots of snacks. That’s the advice floating around the north end of the U.S. Capitol as the Senate prepares to embark on one of its most unique, byzantine — and useless, depending on whom you ask — traditions. The ritual of “vote-a-rama” (yes, that’s...

Isakson backs Obamacare repeal-and-delay effort he once criticized

WASHINGTON — Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s vote Wednesday to back an Obamacare repeal-and-delay effort wasn’t exactly a surprise, but it was still notable given his past criticism of the approach. As we’ve reported over the last few months, Isakson has kept his comments on health care intentionally vague in order to give himself maximum ...

Updated: Perdue, Isakson back every major Senate GOP health care proposal

WASHINGTON — If you’re having trouble keeping track of the various health care proposals floating around the Senate, you’re not alone. As GOP leaders looked to cobble together 50 votes behind an Obamacare replacement plan this week — any plan, really — they put a ton of proposals up for test votes. Georgia’s two Republican U.S. senators, Johnny...

Isakson, Perdue vote to kickoff health care debate, final destination unknown

WASHINGTON — 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...
Senators vote to open debate on health care law

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...

Pressure mounts on Perdue, Isakson ahead of health care vote

WASHINGTON — 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...

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...
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