Georgians sort through health care changes as Senate takes up effort

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President Donald Trump, accompanied by GOP House members, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 4, 2017, after the House pushed through a health care bill. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By Ariel Hart, Misty Williams and Tamar Hallerman

When the U.S. House of Representatives finally made good on its promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act Thursday, Josh Schiffer felt a pit in his stomach.

Schiffer’s five-year-old daughter has a congenital heart defect, the kind of pre-existing condition that insurance companies used to refuse to cover or charge with outlandish premium prices — before the Obamacare law. Would she be able to get health insurance under the new GOP health plan?

“This is something that is already terrifying and scary and strikes at the heart of anyone with kids,” he said.

MORE: How Georgia Republicans voted on GOP health plan

IN DEPTH: Trump voters in South Georgia weigh GOP health plan

The Republican bill that passed the House is almost certain to undergo a makeover in the Senate. Still, it marks an opening gambit in a new conservative political landscape, a gambit with a huge real-world impact on families, their taxes and budgets. Opinions on the plan in Georgia, so far, are mixed, and often quite strong. Some view the changes as pushing them to a the edge of a medical or financial precipice, while others believe they could be freed of bills they don’t want and mandates they don’t need.

In Buckhead, Greg Williams falls into the second category.

He wants less coverage. Ever since Obamacare outlawed his bare-bones health insurance plan as too risky, he’s been paying at least $120 more a month for extra coverage that he doesn’t want.

“It’s a better overall plan, but I would prefer to have the choice of going back to the catastrophic plan,” he said.

Politically, the bill that passed the House Thursday was a big win for Republicans and President Donald Trump who made repealing and replacing Obamacare a core campaign promise. Republicans say the legislation represents a better alternative to Obamacare and will help inject more competition into the marketplace, helping lower skyrocketing health care premiums and giving people more choices.

“We will get it done. We will have great, great health care for everyone in our nation,” Trump told reporters after the vote Thursday.

But as policy, the bill is a long way from becoming law, and it’s not even clear its own advocates like it.

Read the full story about how Georgians view the proposed health care changes here on myAJC.com.


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