Health care in Georgia


Georgia joins suit challenging Obamacare again

State Attorney General Chris Carr has entered Georgia as one of 20 states in a lawsuit led by Texas and Wisconsin alleging that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. The ACA, also known as Obamacare, has been challenged in court numerous times by states where Republicans are the dominating party. The highest-profile challenge failed in the U.S. Supreme Court when Chief Justice John Roberts...


Perdue says further health care changes ‘absolutely’ needed

Perdue says further health care changes ‘absolutely’ needed

As House and Senate lawmakers open another phase of negotiations over a $1.5 trillion federal tax overhaul, some Republicans are emboldened about pursuing new cuts to the system of health care entitlements. U.S. Sen. David Perdue said Monday that lawmakers should “absolutely” seek changes to the Medicaid and Medicare programs to help maximize the impact of the tax cuts. He echoed other...
Some ACA premiums fall while others spike; enrollment keeps surging

Some ACA premiums fall while others spike; enrollment keeps surging

Tyrone Jenkins sat in his insurance agent’s office on Friday, relieved about his health insurance. After all the upheaveal and news over skyrocketing Obamacare premiums, Jenkins will actually see his coverage costs plummet next year. He’ll pay less than half in 2018 what he did in 2017 for similar coverage. How can this be? Jenkins doesn’t like the answer. Thanks to decisions made...
Obamacare enrollment surging, so far, in Georgia, across nation

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.
Obamacare open enrollment begins

Obamacare open enrollment begins

Nov. 1 -- today -- is the day open enrollment begins for health insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act exchange markets, also known as Obamacare. Over the next 45 days, until Dec. 15, people can go on healthcare.gov and buy a plan for 2018. It’s the first full open enrollment for the ACA under the Trump administration.  The administration opposes the law and has made many changes...
10 things the Trump administration has changed about Obamacare

10 things the Trump administration has changed about Obamacare

Obamacare has not been repealed, but its critics are now in charge of administering the Affordable Care Act, and they’ve made many changes to diminish its impact. “Obamacare is bad policy,” said the Trump administration’s two top officials over the system as they issued one important executive order changing how the law works.One of those changes, canceling a federal subsidy...
Enrollment set to begin for an Obamacare with many changes

Enrollment set to begin for an Obamacare with many changes

After a year of drama in Washington over Obamacare, this week the reality lands in Georgia homes. On Wednesday, the federal health insurance exchange market opens for business for the next 45 days, selling 2018 plans. The rate increases that insurers, politicians and advocates have threatened and feared for months will now show up on shoppers’ screens complete with numbers and a dollar sign...
Georgia ACA health insurance rate increases in nation’s top 10

Georgia ACA health insurance rate increases in nation’s top 10

Obamacare rates for 2018 are now online for people to window shop before enrollment opens Nov. 1. And customers here will find something disturbing. Georgia’s premiums on the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange markets aren’t just going up. They’re going up more than most places in the U.S. The firm Avalere has just studied average 2018 premium rates for all 50 states...
Questions and Answers: Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) open enrollment

Questions and Answers: Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) open enrollment

Open enrollment for customers of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, begins Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15. A lot has changed that people will need to know. Here are some important points. In addition, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will answer questions at noon Nov. 1 on the AJC’s main Facebook page. A: Until Dec. 15. That’s a big change from previous years. You do not have until...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 ...
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...
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/
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 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...
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...
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