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Shock, anger, relief in Georgia after health care effort tanks

Christy Nelson survived thyroid cancer but has been fighting insomnia for months, terrified of the GOP effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. She and her husband, who has Crohn’s disease, depend on protections for pre-existing conditions to afford health coverage, and following the collapse of the repeal effort their relief is only slowly starting to bloom. “We are a family scared to death,” she said. “This has been a terrible fear.”

Not Rodney Arnold of Acworth. He is disgusted. The 65-year-old Acworth resident wanted the Republicans to fulfill their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. “I want to choose my own doctor,” Arnold said. “I want to choose my own insurance. I want to do what I want without government interference.”

Georgia patients, medical workers, hospital officials and taxpayers on all sides of the issue have lived with anxiety for months as Washington Republicans’ tried to repeal the federal health care law known as Obamacare. They awoke in wonder Friday — those who didn’t stay up to watch the dramatic moment on TV — to the news that it was over. At least for now.

Now, Georgia leaders must decide how to pick up the pieces in the state’s best interests. The state’s senators and representatives in Washington must decide whether to try again to replace the law or to work across party lines to improve the obvious flaws in the system that exists. President Trump and his administration can run the Obamacare system in ways that keep it afloat, or that poke more holes in its hull.

And the people it’s all about — the patients and taxpayers — are hoping those officials choose well.

Read the whole story on myAJC: After repeal bill failure, shock, relief and disappointment in Georgia

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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.