Georgia Dems push new GOP U.S. Senator to oppose Obamacare repeal

    Georgia state Sen. Jen Jordan, center, was among the Democratic legislators and health care representatives at a Tuesday press conference urging newly elected Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler to oppose GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Stanley Dunlap/Georgia Recorder

    A Georgia health care coalition and a group of state legislators are pushing U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler to publicly oppose the ongoing dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, which they say provides important protection for women’s health care.

    Pro-Obamacare advocate Protect Our Care, Sen. Jen Jordan, Rep. Pat Gardner, Georgia Democratic Party Chair Nikema Williams were among those at a Tuesday press conference at the state Capitol pleading for the newly appointed Republican senator to make a public statement against the health care law’s repeal, a stance that would put her at odds with President Donald Trump. So far, Loeffler’s been publicly adamant in her support of the president’s policies.

    The Supreme Court could end up tackling the federal lawsuit challenging the law’s legality that was filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and a coalition of 20 attorneys general, including Georgia’s Chris Carr.

    In December, a federal court agreed with a Texas Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling the law was unconstitutional after Congress repealed the tax penalizing people for not having health insurance.

    The U.S. Supreme Court should promptly act on the case and Loeffler should fight for the protections provided to women by Obamacare, Jordan said.

    “Every Georgia Republican, including Senator Loeffler, who fails to denounce this lawsuit owns its consequences,” said the Smyrna Democrat.

    U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler

    Loeffler joined the Senate this month after Gov. Brian Kemp appointed her to replace the outgoing Sen. Johnny Isakson. She publicly supports Trump on many issues including border security and impeachment proceedings but isn’t on record about the Affordable Care Act.

    Loeffler might play a role in new health care reform if a court invalidates Obamacare.

    The business executive was recently appointed to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and has signed onto several federal bills to restrict abortion.

    Loeffler’s communications director did not respond to a Georgia Recorder email sent Tuesday.

    Following the 2018 appeals court ruling, Carr said he signed onto the lawsuit because of the intrusive insurance mandate.

    “Once again, the courts have agreed with what we already knew – the cornerstone of Obamacare is unconstitutional,” Carr said in a statement at the time. “Now, we need to get back to work and do it the right way. Congress, the states and the private sector must seize this great opportunity to fix the mess created by Obamacare and do right by the American people.”

    Gardner, an Atlanta Democrat, said Loeffler should understand the importance of quality health care after serving on hospital and mental health boards.

    Repealing the law could result in women paying much higher health insurance costs, or losing access to free birth control.

    “If the ACA is overturned, key protections for women will be ripped away overnight,” Gardner said. “ACA made it illegal for women to be discriminated against in healthcare settings.”

     

    Stanley Dunlap
    Stanley Dunlap has covered government and politics for news outlets in Georgia and Tennessee for the past decade. At The (Macon) Telegraph he told readers about Macon-Bibb County’s challenges implementing its recent consolidation, with a focus on ways the state Legislature determines the fate of local communities. He used open records requests to break a story of a $400 million pension sweetheart deal a county manager steered to a friendly consultant. The Georgia Associated Press Managing Editors named Stanley a finalist for best deadline reporting for his story on the death of Gregg Allman and best beat reporting for explanatory articles on the 2018 Macon-Bibb County budget deliberations. The Tennessee Press Association honored him for his reporting on the disappearance of Holly Bobo, which became a sensational murder case that generated national headlines.