GILMER COUNTY, Ga. -- Much of the backlash against the healthcare plan proposed by House Republicans has dealt with how the plan could affect rural communities, many of which supported President Donald Trump in last fall's elections.
In Gilmer County, Ga., where 82 percent of residents voted for Trump, 28 percent have no health insurance.
"It's just a rural mountain community," said one resident. "There hasn't been a lot of industry here over the years … a lot of people leave the county to find work."
Several studies have said rural areas will be hit hardest by the new health care plan supported by President Trump. Its populations are often older, poorer, and tend "to be sicker and require costlier care". Last year, this county saw how that could hurt.
"Gilmer County suffered the loss of our hospital last spring,” said County Commissioner Travis Crouch.
Crouch owns an outdoors store in Ellijay, Ga. He's also a county commissioner who fought to save his county's North Georgia Medical Center. The hospital was losing money from "a large increase in indigent care".
"Folks who can't pay or don't have insurance -- that's, in a nutshell, what that refers to,” Crouch said. "They show up in the emergency, they're treated. There's no payment."
A hospital with an emergency room, by law, cannot turn anyone away.
"Indigent care had basically buried the hospital and made it difficult to stay afloat financially,” Crouch said.
North Georgia Medical closed in June while Barack Obama was still President Obama. Resident Vicki McKee has gone without insurance since October.
"I try not to dwell on it too much, but if I start feeling sick or something," she said. "It stresses me out, because I think, 'What if this is something serious?'"
These stories, plus a general wariness of government involvement, led to a community angry about health care as is. But they're also concerned about what may replace it.
"It almost seems like a lighter version of Obamacare,” Kyle Jeffares said.
Soon, the county will get back, not its hospital, but a stand-alone emergency room run by Piedmont Healthcare.
"What's to say, though, that indigent care won't then become a burden that brings down the emergency room,” Crouch asked. “We asked that question many, many times."
Such is the story in the picturesque county-side: so many healthcare concerns and so few simple solutions.
To be clear, different rural counties are facing different issues. Gilmer County currently has two providers on the insurance marketplace. Many southern Georgia counties only have one, which doesn't give residents a lot of choice of healthcare providers.
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