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Georgians push for health care action as Congress returns

Carol Lander’s family premiums went up by $500 a month this year alone. Deb Vance lost her insurance subsidy because she lost her income, so then she lost her doctor. Some Atlanta small businesses need to nail down their next health insurance plans fast, but can’t, because the ground is shifting so much.

With the smoking ruins of the GOP’s effort to repeal and replace Obamacare behind them, members of Congress return to Washington this week after a month away, facing a stark political landscape on health care.

Amid mixed messages from the White House, more insurers have pulled out of the nation’s health care markets. Others, including Georgia’s Blue Cross Blue Shield, have announced substantial premium hikes for the upcoming year. This month, regulators and insurance companies must finalize health insurance rates for 2018. Open enrollment is weeks away.

A small, bipartisan band of senators has announced plans to begin talks to stabilize Obamacare’s markets in the weeks ahead. But lawmakers from both sides are facing political pressures and a tightening timeline that could preclude any sort of modest agreement.

But whatever they do or don’t do, Georgia patients and people involved in shaping the state’s health care system and making it work day to day say the problems are real and systemic and important — and can be fixed. They may disagree on what exactly that means, but they agree that it is urgent.

Read on myAJC: Health care on Georgians' front burner as Congress returns 

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.