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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Gold Dome Democrats join rally in support of Obamacare

Georgia's Democratic leaders expressed their support of Obamacare, and criticized Republicans standing in the way of its roll out, at a Gold Dome demonstration yesterday afternoon.

Nearly two dozen people gathered at the Georgia State Capitol's steps to hear House Minority Leader Stacy Abrams, D-Atlanta; State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta; and Steve Henson, D-Tucker; and other health-care advocates spread the word about the Affordable Health Act and the launch of Health Insurance Marketplaces across the nation.

Abrams kicked off the short press conference with a short explanation of how the law's implementation has helped provide health care to Georgians who previously didn't have access to insurance through their employers or the government. Like many Obamacare supporters, she said that glitches in the marketplace's systems, which prevented many individuals from enrolling on day one, indicated how many people supported the Affordable Care Act.

"If you're a 27-year-old in Georgia who makes less than $25,000, on a bronze plan you can have health coverage for the first time for $103 a month," Abrams said. "That's less than most people's cell phone bills these days. If you're a family of four making $50,000 a year, you can get a plan for a little over $250 a month. That's the price a lot of people are paying for one week of coverage, let alone for a month of coverage."

Fort said that many Georgians will now have health care for the first time in their lives, and encouraged people to spread the word about signing up. But he used the platform to attack Gov. Nathan Deal, who has opposed the state's Medicaid expansion, and state Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, who's publicly stated he'll stand in the way of Obamacare's roll out in Georgia.

"The sad reality is that this governor, because of irresponsible and reckless elements of his party, has refused to sign on to Medicaid expansion," Fort said. "... We implore the governor to put people before politics and put people before corporations and put people before the insurance companies. And sign on to expanding Medicaid."

Fort continued: "We would hope some of that same wisdom would show here in Georgia. We implore the governor to expand Medicaid and we ask Ralph Hudgens to get out of the way. We don't believe that obstructionism is a hallmark that any public official should aspire to."

Henson directed his comments to Republicans in Congress and called them out for "damaging" American lives by forcing a government shutdown with their "extremist" politics. But he largely praised Obamacare for rectifying some of the alarming problems that have plagued the American health-care system over the past few decades.

"Obamacare is a great chance to turn things around and I hope each of you will thank our president for taking the political risks, the slings and arrows, to make this happen," Henson said. "I think in the future, Americans will be very happy that we have the Affordable Care Act."

According to Abrams, it'll be a few weeks, maybe months, before anyone knows what percentage of Georgians enroll in the state's federally-run marketplace. For now, state Democratic lawmakers will continue to spread the world about signing up for insurance. Abrams says "15 to 20" town hall meetings will be held over the next few weeks. Henson suggested it could be tough with other state leaders deciding to stand in the way, but they'll do that what they can to spread Obama's care across the Peach State.

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