clear
Thursday July 30th, 2015 7:06PM

Ga. Republicans moving against Obama health plan

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA - Republicans were poised Tuesday to make it even tougher for Georgia to expand a government health insurance program for the poor, undercutting a big part of an overhaul backed by Democratic President Barack Obama.

The election-year legislation was expected to come up for a vote as soon as Tuesday as state lawmakers in the General Assembly held their second-to-last day of the legislative year. By law, Georgia's state lawmakers meet for 40 working days. Legislators are in a mad rush to pass their bills because any legislation that does not win approval by the final day on Thursday automatically fails for the year.

One of the most significant bills would give Georgia's Republican-dominated legislature the final say on whether to loosen the rules governing how much money people can make and still qualify for the government-funded Medicaid program. The Democratic health care plan counted on states to expand their Medicaid programs to include people who are too poor to afford subsidized health insurance but otherwise ineligible for government care.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal has said the long-run costs of expanding the state's Medicaid system are too expensive. GOP lawmakers want to permanently restrict the governor and his successors from changing course. The measure will likely prove popular with Republican voters during an election year. Deal's administration projects that an expansion would cost Georgia roughly $48 million in the first full year, or less than 1 percent of the proposed state budget. Deal's administration projects those costs would rise to nearly $498 million by 2023.

"We believe that a decision about an entitlement program should be made by the legislative branch and not an appointed board," said state Sen. David Shafer, the Republican President Pro Tempore. "The federal government is trillions of dollars in debt. ... We should be careful about doing our long-term planning based on promises the federal government is making."

Democratic lawmakers say enlarging the state's Medicaid system is Georgia best opportunity to get insurance for an estimated 400,000 people.

"I have never seen a piece of legislation where the majority party voices its skepticism of its own governor," said state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta. "We have the greatest treatment, the greatest doctors in the world. The only problem is, not enough Georgians have access to those hospitals."

Capitol police arrested several protesters who chanted from the Senate gallery in support of enlarging the Medicaid system. Zan Thornton, 52, said she blames her mother's death from cancer on her inability to seek affordable care. She was too poor to pay for health care, but her family made too much money to qualify for government coverage.

"The governor has other priorities," Thornton said. "His priorities are big business, not the people."

House lawmakers also voted to restrict companies from offering coverage for abortion in health insurance policies sold on federally run exchanges, except when a pregnancy threatens the life or health of the mother. Democratic opponents have faulted the plan, saying it offers no exceptions for women who are raped and limits a woman's access to abortion. That bill will now head to the Senate for final approval.

Other measures under debate would:

- Require drug testing for people receiving food stamps;

- Allow Georgia to adopt a medical marijuana program for patients suffering from some illnesses.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US stocks post sixth straight year of gains
U.S. stocks ended a strong 2014 with moderate declines Wednesday.
4:43PM ( 6 months ago )
Palestinians push ahead in pursuit of war crimes charges against Israel
Stung by a resounding defeat in the U.N. Security Council, the Palestinians announced Wednesday that they joined the International Criminal Court to pursue war crimes charges against Israel.
1:57PM ( 6 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 6 months ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 6 months ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 6 months ago )
Local/State News
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 7 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 7 months ago )
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
6:03PM ( 7 months ago )
Politics
3.3 million dry erase boards recalled after due to cut risk
NEW YORK (AP) — Acco Brands Corp. is recalling about 3.3 million wall-mounted dry erase boards after customers said they cut their hands, fingers and feet while removing the board from a wall.The U.S....
12:33PM ( 6 hours ago )
NGMC honors teen volunteers
The Medical Center Auxiliary honored more than 100 teen volunteers at an appreciation dinner this week at the Brenau Downtown Center.
By AccessWDUN staff
12:26PM ( 6 hours ago )
Applications for US jobless aid rise to still-low 267,000
WASHINGTON (AP) — More people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, though the increase was from a very low level and the figures still point to a healthy job market.Applications for jobless ai...
8:48AM ( 10 hours ago )
Coca-Cola Enterprises beats 2Q Wall Street expectations
Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (CCE) on Thursday reported second-quarter net income of $176 million.
8:24AM ( 10 hours ago )
Asian stocks mixed after Fed leaves rates unchanged
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese stocks held steady Thursday following this week's turbulence while other Asian markets were mixed after the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at a record low.KE...
12:52AM ( 18 hours ago )