Political Insider blog 

AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns

David Vitter open to Medicaid expansion in Louisiana

  • 3:37 pm Monday, June 16th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy

David Vitter is one of the most conservative Republicans in the U.S. Senate, but in his campaign for governor of Louisiana he’s open to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. From The Associated Press:

Lifting the lid on the debate over Medicaid expansion

  • 6:26 pm Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Early this week, a small panel assigned the task of saving rural health care in Georgia gathered to take a first crack at the problem.

Four rural hospitals have closed since 2012, eight since 2000. The finances of another dozen or so balance on a razor’s edge, the panel was told.

A bit of Malthusian arithmetic for you: Jimmy Lewis, CEO of HomeTown Health, a Georgia collection of health care facilities, says a community of 40,000 is required for the independent operation of a hospital.

Rural Georgia has 1.8 million people – enough for 45 hospitals. “We’re down to 55,” Lewis said afterwards. [More]

A hint of a pro-Obamacare backlash in AJC poll

  • 6:00 am Monday, May 12th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

Gov. Nathan Deal’s refusal to expand Medicaid under Obamacare cuts both ways, an AJC poll released this weekend shows.

Clearly, Obamacare remains at the top of minds of voters. The poll shows that an overwhelming majority – 86 percent – views a candidate’s stance on the healthcare law as at least very important. And some 61 percent of voters believe it needs major modifications or should be scrapped altogether.

But there’s a soft spot in many Georgians’ heart for the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which would have provided as many as 650,000 low-income residents with health coverage [More]

Five issues to watch during today’s bill signing deadline

  • 6:00 am Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein

It’s crunch time for Gov. Nathan Deal. He has until the end of Tuesday to decide whether to sign the dozens of bills still pending into law or take out his red veto pen.

The governor has already s, including the $20.8 billion spending plan and the broad expansion of gun rights. But plenty of high-profile issues still await his decision.

Here are the five issues we’re closely watching:


Deal will decide on two pieces of legislation today that aim to send an unwavering message that President Obama’s healthcare overhaul is an enemy of the state.

The first, [More]

Bob Barr tones down his talk of impeachment

  • 9:30 am Monday, April 14th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Former congressman Bob Barr, now seeking a comeback in the race for Georgia’s 11th District congressional seat, raised eyebrows in January when A former federal prosecutor who helped lead impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, Barr said the Obama administration had acted illegally both in postponing mandates in the federal health care law, and through softening enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Here’s what Barr said on Jan. 23 to Alex Jones:

I think it really has come to that. It’s not something I like to say. When I left the House before, after we impeached Clinton, my hope was that we would never [More]

Sebelius resignation may offer a lever to Port of Savannah supporters

  • 12:57 pm Friday, April 11th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation as the federal government’s chief health care officer may have just handed a giant lever to supporters of the Port of Savannah expansion. First, the set-up from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama praised outgoing Health and Human Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for helping to steer his health care law’s comeback after a rocky rollout, even as he nominated a successor aimed at helping the White House move past the political damage.

“Under Kathleen’s leadership, her team at HHS turned the corner, got it fixed, got the job done,” Obama said in a Rose Garden ceremony Friday morning. [More]

Gallup poll: Georgians not ready to revolt over taxes

  • 10:03 am Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Gov. Nathan Deal has been pummeled with bad news the last week, but the Gallup polling organization offers the Republican incumbent some respite this morning.

In terms of overall dissatisfaction, Georgia ranked No. 20 – essentially in the middle of the pack, and not the stuff that Republican primary revolutions are made of.

New Yorkers (77 percent said levies were too high) were the most dissatisfied. Residents of Wyoming (19 percent) were the least.

Most other Southern states ranked below Georgia on the taxpayer-angst scale: Virginia (No. 21), South Carolina (No. 25), Mississippi (No. 28), Tennesee (No. 33), Alabama (No. 34) and Florida [More]

Friday’s verdict just the beginning of trial trouble for Nathan Deal

  • 9:50 am Monday, April 7th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Over the weekend, it became more than obvious that one of Gov. Nathan Deal’s most daunting tasks this year is the We’ve already seen the governor distance himself from Friday’s verdict and deny even monitoring the Kalberman case from afar. We also expect Democrat Jason Carter to use some of the $1.6 million in his campaign piggy bank to launch constant reminders of the trial – and whatever comes next – the governor’s way.

But two other lawsuits are in the offing, from former ethics commission staffers Sherilyn Streicker and John Hair, with claims strikingly similar to [More]

World Vision to recognize gay marriage of employees

  • 10:19 am Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

In the religious-political world, most eyes will be focused today on U.S. Supreme Court arguments in  a renewed battle over President Barack Obama’s health care law that pits the religious rights of employers against World Vision’s American branch will no longer require its more than 1,100 employees to restrict their sexual activity to marriage between one man and one woman.

Abstinence outside of marriage remains a rule. But a policy change announced Monday [March 24] will now permit gay Christians in legal same-sex marriages to be employed at one of America’s largest Christian charities…

[World Vision U.S. president Richard] Stearns asserts that [More]

Jimmy Carter: ‘I believe if I send an email, it will be monitored’

  • 9:34 am Monday, March 24th, 2014 by Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Count former President Jimmy Carter as one of those Americans who thinks he’s being watched. If not by the NSA, then by someone else.

“As a matter of fact, you know, I have felt that my own communications are probably monitored. And when I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I type or write a letter myself, put it in the post office, and mail it…

“Because I believe if I send an email, it will be monitored.”

Carter, who is plugging his latest book — which advocates women’s rights, also said that while most of his successors in the White [More]