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Obamacare

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal speaks during a press conference to announce he has vetoed legislation allowing clergy to refuse performing gay marriage and protecting people who refuse to attend the ceremonies Monday, March 28, 2016, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

As the U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote Thursday on the healthcare bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, leaders in Georgia have expressed mixed views about the plan. 

So far, many of Georgia's Republican members in the U.S. House appear to support the bill. But Wednesday, a spokesperson for Congressman Jody Hice, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, said Hice was opposed to the measure.  

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

WASHINGTON—Determined House Republicans won early victories Thursday on divisive legislation to undo former President Barack Obama's health care law, winning approval in key committees after marathon all-night sessions despite Democratic protests and intense opposition from doctors and consumer groups.

U.S. House Republican leaders have launched a drive to push their new healthcare bill through House committees.  

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The measure, which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), has run into pushback from some Republicans who claim it doesn't go far enough.  

David Goldman / Associated Press

Older Georgians would get hit with higher costs under the new Republican health care plan, especially those in rural areas, according to some health care analysts.

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Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can charge older Americans only three times as much as they would younger Americans. Under the new plan, companies could charge five times as much.

Atlanta Regional Commission

As the new Republican federal administration digs into the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, many Georgians are left unsure about the future of their health insurance.

Price Tries To Reassure On Health Care; Dems Not Buying It

Jan 18, 2017
Health and Human Services Secretary-designate, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., pauses while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Offering reassurances, President-elect Donald Trump's pick for health secretary said Wednesday the new administration won't "pull the rug out" from those covered by "Obamacare." Democrats were unimpressed, noting a lack of specifics.

In this Jan. 5, 2016, file Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Carla Dent is a restaurant owner who steers her employees to federal health insurance exchanges. Eden Purdy helps poor and working-class Georgians navigate the health care marketplace. Bryson Boech is a grocery cashier recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, what the insurance industry calls a pre-existing condition.

Wellstar Cobb Hospital
Al Such / WABE

The biggest insurer and the biggest hospital system in Georgia are joining forces.

WellStar Health System and Blue Cross Blue Shield have agreed to take part in a federal insurance exchange product.

“Continuity of physician and hospital is important to consumers and you know, you feel comfortable with somebody you trust. And if a WellStar patient very much likes their doctor, they can keep them if they stay in the Blue Cross network,” said Andy Miller, with Georgia Health News. 

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

With the state legislative session a month away, Georgia lawmakers and advocates want details on how exactly Republicans in Washington will repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Before that, they say, there’s little they can do to significantly reduce Georgia’s uninsured population, which is somewhere above one million.  Georgia has one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation.

Firefighters spent more than two months battling wildfires in north Georgia and in Tennessee this fall.
John Bazemore / Associated Press

Wednesday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Al Such / WABE

Donald Trump’s win is set to ripple through Georgia politics in the coming months and beyond, potentially redirecting expected state policy changes on issues like education, health care and religious rights.

Trump’s win “sends a signal” to the state Legislature, said Republican state Sen. Michael Williams of Cumming. He called himself the first Republican official in Georgia to endorse the now president-elect.

“I think the discussions that we have are going to dramatically change based on the leadership that we see from Donald Trump,” Williams said.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

Health care premiums under the Affordable Care Act are going up in Georgia.

That's according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, which says the average hike in metro Atlanta will be 13 percent before tax credits.

According to the report, metro Atlanta residents eligible for tax credits won’t see a change in their premiums, if they're open to switching to another health care plan.

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.”

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.

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.

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 and Blue Shield of Georgia is considering raising the rate for people who get their health insurance from the company through the Obamacare exchange.

This comes days after Aetna released a statement saying it couldn't afford to stay on the Georgia exchange. 

Aetna's exit means roughly 90,000 Georgians will have to look for new coverage this fall. Blue Cross is expected to pick up many of those Aetna members.

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.

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

There’s more evidence mounting that Georgians who get their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act could pay even more for their coverage next year.

WABE File

The Republican head of the Georgia Senate's Health and Human Services committee says the state needs to “re-examine” expanding Medicaid.

State Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) didn’t endorse the idea of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Rather, she thinks the state should look at negotiating a federal waiver, as other Republican-majority states have done, to tailor how any potential Medicaid expansion would work.

Eboni Lemon

Tuesday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

In this Monday, Aug. 31, 2015 photo, a Coke truck delivers Coca Cola at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill.
Seth Perlman / Associated Press

It’s no secret that health care costs have been on the rise — employers and employees. That’s why the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company is banding together with 19 other major corporations to try to bring down health care costs.

Tevi Troy, CEO of the American Health Policy Institute, launched the Health Transformation Alliance, to which the companies now belong. He brought them together to find a way to reduce costs for their estimated 4 million employees. Troy says the companies all had various capabilities and lots of data, but lacked one key advantage to bringing down costs.

Courtesy Spelman College

Friday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

Protecting his signature domestic achievement, President Barack Obama on Friday vetoed legislation to repeal his health care law, saying the measure "would reverse the significant progress we have made in improving health care in America."

Republican lawmakers have pushed many repeal measures since 2010, when Obama signed the health care program into law. This was the first of those bills to clear Congress and reach his desk.

Republicans have argued that the law doesn't work.

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

Going into President Barack Obama's last year in office, progress has stalled on reducing the number of uninsured Americans under his signature health care law, according to a major survey out Thursday.

The share of U.S. adults without health insurance was 11.9 percent in the last three months of 2015, essentially unchanged from the start of the year, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The ongoing survey, based on daily interviews with 500 people, has been used by media, social scientists, and administration officials to track the law's impact.

Legislation repealing President Barack Obama's health care law comes to the forefront when the House reconvenes this week, marking a sharply partisan start to a congressional year in which legislating may take a back seat to politics.

The bill undoing the president's prized overhaul of health care has been like a long-delayed New Year's resolution for Republicans. It will be the first order of business for the House in the new year.

Jeff Chiu, File / Associated Press

WABE's news reporters, producers and editors are already looking toward 2016.

"Morning Edition" host Denis O'Hayer says he is curious about Obamacare and what the state of Georgia will decide to do about Medicaid:

"Part of the dispute is whether the state would expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and Gov. Deal has said, 'no no no.' There have been rumblings for a long time that the state would try to negotiate some sort of third way with the feds, something between 'absolutely no' and 'we're going to expand Medicaid.'"        

Midway through sign-up season, more young adults are getting coverage through President Barack Obama's health care law. The number of new customers is also trending higher, officials said Tuesday in an upbeat report.

Outside analysts who reviewed the administration's update said it reflects encouraging progress, but that may not dispel questions about the long-term future of the health insurance markets created under Obama's 2010 overhaul. Premiums have been going up and getting new sign-ups remains a challenge.

David Goldman / Associated Press

Recording and mixing music are Vernon Thomas' passions, but being CEO and producer of Mantree Records isn't his day job.

He's an HIV outreach worker for a county health department outside Newark, N.J. He took what was to be a full-time job in May because the gig came with health insurance — and he has HIV himself.

But then the county made it a part-time job, and Thomas lost health coverage before it even started. "Benefits are more important than the money you're making," he says.

Nate Grigg / flickr.com/nateone/

The Supreme Court is wading into its fourth dispute over President Barack Obama's 5-year-old health care overhaul.

The newest "Obamacare" case involves objections by faith-based hospitals, colleges and charities to the process the administration devised to spare them from paying for contraceptives for women covered under their health plans, and yet ensure that those women can obtain birth control at no extra cost.

The groups complain that they remain complicit in making available the contraceptives in violation of their religious beliefs.

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