Why Georgia Republicans are nervous about House health plan

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, center, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (back, left) and U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (back, center) at a rally in Marietta in November. Curtis Compton,ccompton@ajc.com

Georgia Republicans are sharply divided over the GOP proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act that’s galloping through the U.S. House of Representatives, raising concerns about the lack of a cost estimate for the overhaul and its impact on the state’s budget as it moves through Capitol Hill.

As House lawmakers prepare to vote on the sweeping rewrite of health care policy, at least two GOP congressmen from Georgia said they won’t support the measure in its current form. And Gov. Nathan Deal has raised concerns about how it will affect Georgia and other states that refused to expand Medicaid.

The fight over the plan is another stinging reminder of the challenges of making substantial changes to health policy even for Republicans who have long vowed to repeal the signature law of Barack Obama’s presidency.

 



 

Under pressure from President Donald Trump, who has endorsed the plan, House GOP leaders have signaled they would make only minor changes to the proposal. Democrats, health care industry groups and other critics, meanwhile, are eagerly fanning the flames of a budding revolt. Conservative groups aren’t happy either, taking issue with the bill’s refundable tax credits that they say are akin to a new federal entitlement.

Before the measure was introduced, Deal recounted a call with fellow Republicans governors who he said “took the bait” and expanded Medicaid with the promise that the federal government would pick up the bulk of the bill.

“I would remind Republican governors who expanded Medicaid — that was part of Obamacare,” said Deal. “And now it could very well go away. I am sympathetic to what they did, but we don’t want to be punished for what those states did.

More: Georgia Republicans are sharply divided over the House GOP’s healthcare plan


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