Obamacare Impact on Georgia; a week away

7:35 PM, Sep 23, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Obamacare: What you need to know
President Obama at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia (Getty Images)

ATLANTA -- We're almost a week away from a possible government shutdown neither Republicans nor Democrats are willing to stand down.

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Some Republicans insist on defunding the Affordable Care Act; or Obamacare, as it has come to be known; as part of any deal.  But Democrats say that's nothing more than posturing.

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If the government does shut down, some Federal programs would continue, like Social Security payments. But one-third of Federal employees would be furloughed, national parks would be closed and paychecks to soldiers would be delayed.

The fight in Washington is causing a lot of confusion for hundreds of thousands of Americans, including some here in Georgia.

The Affordable Care Act is set to begin next Tuesday.  But if the Georgia Republican Congressional House delegation has its way there will be no Obamacare for, at least, another year.

The idea to shut down Obamacare started in Georgia and caught fire on Capitol Hill.

"I proposed an idea that kept the government operating and opened for an entire year while delaying and defunding Obamacare for a year so we can work out these differences," said Tom Graves, a Republic Congressman from Georgia's 14th District who came up with the legislation.

Georgia's Congressional delegation voted along party lines, 9-5, to shut down Affordable Health Care but keep the government going.

The House bill goes to the Senate on Wednesday.

11Alive caught up with Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, as he was headed back to Washington.

We asked him if Obamacare would be put off and the government shut down.

"We should fix Obamacare but we should not shut the government. That's threading the needle and what you have to do. This business of leveraging down the government is not a good idea. We will extend the current deadline to December 15," Isakson said.

That means Obamacare will kick in on October 1.

Almost 2 million uninsured Georgians will go to Healthcare.gov to sign up for healthcare or face a fine up to $95.

"We are focusing on those individuals who don't have coverage; those individuals with pre-existing conditions; and those individuals who could not pay for insurance before. These are the markets we are tapping into right now," said Renard Murray, Regional Administrator for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Atlanta. 

People enrolled in an employer group plan or in Medicaid do not have to sign up, but if there are family members under 26 who are uninsured, signup is necessary.

There is also a special section for small businesses to sign up.

"If you have individuals in your household who are not insured, get them to Healthcare.gov; or get them to contact the Call Center; get them to local navigators who can help them to understand what the marketplace means," Murray added.

Navigators will help sort through the options, with basic coverage in Georgia averaging between $216 and $308 for a 45-year-old.

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