Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Doomed GOP healthcare plan jolts race to replace Tom Price

The doomed Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act could well prove to be a defining debate of the 2018 midterm elections, and the stark divide among candidates racing to represent a swath of suburban Atlanta offers an early glimpse of the electoral challenges facing conservatives.

In Georgia’s Sixth District, several of the 18 candidates demanded sweeping changes to the plan and applauded when it was pulled by House leaders minutes before a scheduled vote because of a staggering lack of support. Others running as Donald Trump loyalists say they would have voted for it in a flash and lamented its demise.

All the more remarkable is that the rift erupted in a conservative-leaning district long represented by Tom Price, Trump’s new health secretary and the point-man to implement any plan that made it through Congress.

“Healthcare is 17 percent of our economy. I’m OK with taking it slow to get it right, and I hope I get the chance to work on it,” said former state Sen. Judson Hill, a Marietta attorney who is one of the 11 Republicans in the race.

The April 18 special election is one of the first – and the most competitive – congressional contests since Trump’s election and could prove to be a measure of his popularity. And it will be a quick test of the impact of the dramatic failure of the GOP’s effort to deliver on its promise to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.

The district, which spans from east Cobb to north DeKalb, has been in GOP control for decades and sent Price back to Congress every two years by double-digit margins. But Trump’s 1-point victory in the district gives Democrats hope they can flip the seat.

Read the rest of the story: In Tom Price's backyard, a deep divide of healthcare

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.