Michell Eloy | WABE 90.1 FM

Michell Eloy


Michell (yes, no ‘e’) covers health and health care policy for WABE, with an emphasis on investigative reporting. She’s also a member of NPR and Kaiser Health News' team of reporters covering health care in the states. Prior to covering health, Michell worked as a general assignment reporter for WABE, covering state and local politics, education issues, courts and everything in between. 

An Illinois-native, Michell comes to WABE and the Atlanta area from Chicago, where she spent three years working and interning in the Windy City’s media scene. She got her first taste of covering public affairs and breaking news as an intern at WBEZ, where her reporting ended a years-long bid by Chicago City Hall and the police department to build an outdoor gun range on the city’s south side. She then spent a year copy editing and writing feature stories for the Chicago Tribune before deciding to return to public radio.

Michell’s work has been published by NPR, Kaiser Health News, Marketplace, Chicago Tribune, WBEZ, Chicago magazine and Paste magazine. She received a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Ways to Connect

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act hold up signs as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday June 25, 2015.
Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

 On a recent campaign stop in Cobb County, Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence made a promise that used to be a big applause line at Republican rallies since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

“If you want a president who will cut taxes, grow our economy, squeeze every nickel out of that bloated federal bureaucracy and repeal Obamacare lock stock and barrel,” Pence said to growing applause, “then I say to you here in Georgia, we have but one choice.”

Alison Guillory / WABE

Georgia's child welfare agency says it's phasing out the use of hotels as a temporary placement for area foster kids.

The Division of Family and Children Services says it plans to stop using hotels in Fulton and DeKalb Counties by summer next year. Agency officials say they have no hard deadline to phase out so-called “hoteling” for the rest of the state, but the hope is to do so by the end of 2017.

Andre Penner / AP Photo

Georgia Public Health officials say they’re ready for action, should the Zika virus start spreading through local transmissions.

Georgia is currently in peak mosquito season with the end expected in late October.

DPH’s Dr. James O’Neal, speaking after the agency’s monthly board meeting on Tuesday, said that, should the virus start spreading here, the state has teams of people ready to rapidly deploy to areas where cases pop up.

Gerald Herbert / associated press

A health care task force created by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce released its much-anticipated report on ways the state could expand medical coverage to the uninsured Wednesday, outlining three paths for lawmakers to consider this coming legislative session.

The HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015.
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia says it will soon be the only insurer on the Affordable Care Act exchange in most of the state.

Blue Cross says with Aetna's pullout earlier this month, it will be the sole insurer on the exchange in 96 Georgia counties next year. UnitedHealthcare and Cigna are also dropping out of the market, while Humana is significantly downsizing its footprint to just a few counties. 

This year, all 159 counties had at least two providers offering plans.

AJ Mast / associated press file

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence visited Cobb County to stump for Donald Trump, one of three stops in the state the Indiana governor made Monday in support of the party’s presidential nominee.

At the Cobb Galleria Centre, Pence played up Trump’s image as the “law and order candidate.” He told the crowd of hundreds if they wanted someone who would build strong borders, build a wall and end illegal immigration, then Trump was their candidate.

Passengers line up to go through security at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

Security officials are predicting a relatively calm Labor Day travel weekend, after long security lines snarled passengers earlier this summer.

Mark Howell, the region’s spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, says Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is expected to see a total of about 140,000 passengers Thursday and Friday. Howell said he doesn’t expect the volume to cause big problems.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Piedmont Healthcare and insurer UnitedHealthcare have reached a deal on a new three-year network agreement, after the two let their previous contract lapse for nearly two months. 

The agreement means the more than 150,000 Piedmont patients who found themselves out of network during the stalemate will likely no longer have to pay more to visit all six of the network’s hospitals and its physicians. Piedmont and United officials said in a joint press release that the agreement is retroactive to July 1 to avoid gaps in patients’ coverage.

The HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015.
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

The state agency that oversees Georgia’s Medicaid program says it needs tens of millions of dollars more this budget year to cover its expanding roles, and more than $100 million the following year.

The Georgia Department of Community Health has requested an additional $82.8 million in state funds to cover Medicaid growth for Fiscal Year 2017, which started in June. DCH will also ask for another $121.4 million in FY 2018.  

Alex Brandon, File / Associated Press

Federal health officials are downplaying concerns of higher costs and less choice on the Obamacare insurance exchanges next year, including in Georgia.

A report from the U.S. Department Health and Human Services released Wednesday said even if all premiums increase in Georgia by 50 percent next year, around 79 percent of consumers would still pay $75 or less each month for coverage.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia health officials painted a dire pictures of the state’s rural hospital network for state lawmakers Monday, with more cuts predicted as the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, continues to roll out.

About 40 percent of the state's hospitals lost money in 2014, according to the Georgia Hospital Association's most recent figures.

Testifying in front of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, the association's Ethan James was asked if that number might now be closer to half of hospitals operating in the red.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed speaks during a news conference with the C40 and the Compact of Mayors during the Climate Action 2016 Summit at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, Thursday, May 5, 2016.
Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed may have dropped a hint at another potential candidate for next year's mayoral race.

The offhand comment came Thursday at a news conference about the sale agreement for Turner Field.

Reed was praising Scott Taylor, president of development firm Carter and one of the big players in the stadium area's redevelopment.

“Scott Taylor for mayor,” Reed joked, “after the next election. I don't want to upset Ceasar and Keisha.”

By Ceasar, Reed was referring to City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, who's already declared his intent to run.

Another insurer is pulling its Obamacare plans from the Georgia insurance exchange.

Cigna said it will no longer offer plans on the state's exchange set up through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, starting in 2017.

In a statement, a spokesperson said, “Cigna is participating in selected public exchanges where we can best support quality, affordable options for our customers. In this case, we haven’t yet defined the most appropriate products that provide this combination and that would be competitive in the Georgia public marketplace.”

Jessica Hill / Associated Press

Health care company Aetna says it's pulling its plans off the individual insurance exchanges in Georgia and 10 other states next year, making it the latest major insurer to deal a blow to President Obama’s signature health care law.

Nationwide, the company says it will shrink its presence from 778 counties to 242 next year, and will continue operating exchange plans in only four states: Nebraska, Virginia, Iowa and Vermont. In Georgia this year, Aetna operated plans in 67 counties.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Between 35 and 50 of Georgia's struggling rural hospitals could qualify for millions under some new tax credits that go into effect next year.

Department of Community Health Commissioner Clyde Reese said his agency has finalized the list of hospitals eligible for contributions starting in 2017, the result of a new law passed by the legislature earlier this year.

Through 2019, people and companies who make those contributions to these hospitals would get a state tax credit. Total contributions are capped at $50 million in 2017, $60 million in 2018 and $70 million in 2019.

Jeff Roberson / associated press file

State employees and teachers could see a slight increase in how much they pay for their health insurance next year.

The Department of Community Health announced at its monthly board meeting Tuesday that health insurance premiums will increase on average by 2.5 percent starting in January for non-Medicare members. 

“I have seen stories and news accounts that talk about the federal exchange rates maybe going up as much as 12 to 13 percent,” DCH Commissioner Clyde Reese said. “So in comparison, we think 2.5 average is very reasonable.”

Cassandra Douglas / WABE

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines faltered as it tried to get back to a normal schedule Wednesday after a power outage earlier this week, canceling more than 300 flights by the afternoon. 

Wednesday morning, the airline projected around 90 flights would be canceled and that it would be back to normal operations by mid- to late-afternoon. As of 4:30 p.m., the airline said 317 flights had been canceled so far, but none within the hour. Delta said among the more than 3,000 flights that did depart Wednesday, about two-thirds left within a half hour of their scheduled departure time. 

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act hold up signs as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday June 25, 2015.
Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

Georgia could pull down $8 to $9 from the federal government for every one state dollar it spends to expand Medicaid, according to a new report from the Urban Institute.

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit looked at Georgia and the 18 other states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The findings show Georgia could get from $8.86 to $9.42 for every state dollar it spends to expand the federal health program that covers the poor and disabled, depending on how many people enroll in the program.

Michell Eloy / WABE

The family of a man who died after being stunned with a Taser has filed a wrongful death suit against DeKalb County and three of its police officers, one year after the incident.

Troy Robinson, 33, was scaling a wall trying to flee the police after a traffic stop, when Officer Casey Benton fired his stun gun, according to a preliminary investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Robinson fell to the ground. An autopsy showed he died of severe head and neck trauma.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is on pace to exceed the record-setting 101 million passengers it served last year, when it became the first airport in the world to pass the 100 million mark.  

Airport officials say during the first half of 2016, about 51.3 million people passed through Hartsfield-Jackson, a nearly 4.5 percent increase over the same time last year. The number of flights is also up about 3.5 percent compared to the first six months of last year.

Michell Eloy / WABE News

Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid brought together government, court and police officials Wednesday to meet with the community about policing and criminal justice issues.

Cupid said the three-hour public forum was necessary in the wake of recent police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, and the shooting deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, respectively, at the hands of police. She said she hopes this is the first of more meetings to come.

Grady Memorial Hospital
Al Such / WABE

Only two Georgia hospitals earned top scores from the federal government, according to new and controversial star ratings released this week.

Gordon Hospital in Calhoun and Northside Medical Center in Columbus received the only five-star ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which rated 3,671 hospitals nationwide. The full rankings are posted on CMS’ Hospital Compare website.

Piedmont Hospital
Al Such / WABE

Nearly one month past a July 1 deadline, Piedmont Health and insurer UnitedHealthcare are still at loggerheads over a new network contract.

In an email last week, United spokesperson Daryl Richard said negotiations are “going slowly,” but they remain in the works.

“We were expecting greater engagement from Piedmont to reach a quick resolution for the people we collectively serve, but they have made very few changes at all from their original contract demands first submitted months ago.”

United and Piedmont did not respond to requests for comment Monday. 

John Locher / Associated Press

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to take the stage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio Tuesday morning to talk about criminal justice reform.

Deal will sit on a panel with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin for a special issue briefing at the convention.

Criminal justice reform is part of the 2016 GOP Platform.

Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project at the nonpartisan Pew Charitable Trusts, said Georgia's reforms have been some of the most far-reaching in the nation.

David Goldman / AP Photo

Organizers with the Black Lives Matter movement are scheduled to meet with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Monday at City Hall.

Reed and city Police Chief George Turner promised a meeting with protesters last week after hundreds demonstrated outside the Governor's Mansion.

Tiffany Smith says she's part of the group crafting a strategy ahead of that meeting, but she didn't give specifics.

"I'll be as transparent as I can be," Smith said. "I want to say there's a very strategic and focused effort to really consolidate and understand the needs of Atlanta."

Emory University drug development groups are working to find a treatment for those infected by the Zika virus.
Ricardo Mazalan / Associated Press

Georgia health departments and mosquito control groups are grappling with dashed hopes for federal dollars to fight the Zika virus, after Congress failed to pass a funding bill ahead of a weeks-long summer break.

On Thursday, Congress adjourned for seven weeks, with plans to return after Labor Day in early September.

Alison Guillory / WABE

This story is part of "Atlanta Remembers: The 1996 Olympics," WABE's series on the impact of the 1996 Summer Olympics on Atlanta, 20 years later. For more stories, click here.    

On a sunny summer day in downtown Atlanta, students dart across the main plaza of Georgia State University, with very few students lingering in the stagnant, 90-degree heat.  

Mike Stewart / Associated Press

With Atlanta set to see its fifth straight day of protests, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed called on demonstrators to remain peaceful.

Last week's police killings of two black men – one in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the other outside Minneapolis – kicked off protests nationwide. Those protests intensified after a sniper killed five police officers in Dallas.

Rica Madrid poses for a photograph as she prepares to roll a joint in her home on the first day of legal possession of marijuana for recreational purposes,
Alex Brandon / AP Photo

A new report out of the University of Georgia says legalizing medical marijuana lowers national prescription drug costs.

The father-daughter research team looked at prescriptions filed from 2010 to 2013 with Medicare's prescription benefits program, known as Part D. They then narrowed the search to the District of Columbia and 17 states that had legalized medical marijuana as of 2013, and chose nine conditions for which marijuana could serve as an alternative treatment.

Susan Walsh / Associated Press

Georgia's Republican U.S. Senators weighed in Tuesday on the FBI's recommendation not to bring charges against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over her use of private email servers while she was secretary of state.

FBI Director James Comey said, while Clinton's handling of classified data over private email servers was “extremely careless,” he said “our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”