How will new health care bill impact Central Georgia?

How will the new healthcare bill impact Central Georgia?

The Republican-backed Health Care Bill is full of new policies. How will they impact us here in Central Georgia? Local health care providers gave us the answer.

Here in Central Georgia, only Houston and Bibb counties have more than one health insurance provider for people who sign up through healthcare.gov. CEO of Community Health Works Fred Ammons says this poses a serious risk for those in rural areas.

He says if the bill currently before the Senate passes, the situation is likely to get worse.

"Particularly since there's no penalty, there are few people anyway if it crosses the line where the insurer says we can't make money in this area then that's gonna be a really bad thing for folks in that community."

However, it's not solely up to the people. He says a stabilization fund in the bill could be the crutch for coverage.

"If the $54- or the $50 billion over the four years brings more insurers to rural counties in Georgia that's always a good thing," Ammons says.

In Macon, primary care provider Katherine McLeod  has her concerns, especially when it comes to their patients on Medicaid.

"One of the significant things in this bill is a complete change in the way Medicaid is funded, and over time, a significant cut going to the Medicaid program," a program that covers Georgia's children.

"Half the children in Georgia are covered by Medicaid, so this isn't something that just affects a tiny little sliver of our population," McLeod says.

Ammons says the bill still has a long way to go, though.

"Even if this bill gets passed by the Senate, it still has to go to conference committee, and the difference between the House bill and the Senate bill have to be sorted out."

The bill is expected to be voted on some time next week.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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