ICYMI: Three stories metro Atlantans were checking out this past week

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Watch – President Trump Signs Executive Order Ending Migrant Family Separations

IMMIGRATION DEBATE INTENSIFIES: While the debate about the separation of children from their parents at the southern border of the U.S. has been in the national and international spotlight this past week, the issue's reverberations could be felt right here in metro Atlanta and Georgia.

On Wednesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the city must not be complicit in U. S. President Donald Trump’s policies that have separated children from their families at the Mexican border. Accordingly, she announced she had signed an executive order prohibiting the city’s jail from accepting new detainees of the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. On Thursday, Bottoms said she would not rule out canceling a federal contract for the city jail to hold people facing deportation

Those announcements did not sit well with Republican officials and candidates in this year’s elections —particularly in the state’s top race. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp will square off in a July 24 runoff to become the GOP nominee for governor. Cagle tagged the mayor in a tweet late Wednesday, declaring he has “led to outlaw and defund sanctuary cities and WE WILL uphold our laws.” And Kemp said the city should honor its “longstanding agreement” to house the detainees.

» Families vs. zero tolerance: Many evangelicals back Trump amid immigration policies

» AJC POLITICS: Georgia lawmakers in D.C. take sides on debate

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Virginia moved Wednesday to become the 33rd state to expend Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: Dreamstime

Virginia moved Wednesday to become the 33rd state to expend Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act. (Dreamstime/TNS)
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Virginia moved Wednesday to become the 33rd state to expend Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: Dreamstime

Credit: Dreamstime

HEALTH INSURANCE OPTIONS EXPAND: The Trump administration on Tuesday finalized a controversial exception to Obamacare rules that will give more freedom to people who want less health insurance for less money.  Starting Sept. 1, small businesses and individual business owners will more easily be able to form "association health plans." Among other things, such plans are stripped of the requirements imposed by the Affordable Care Act to cover fundamental benefits such as prescriptions, maternity care, emergency care or mental health care. In return for skimpier coverage, the customer pays less. Both private and federal analysts expect millions of people to be drawn into the plans, perhaps 3 million or 4 million. Federal officials estimate that 400,000 people who are uninsured now would get the plans.

However, the change could in turn make premiums costly for those with other insurance. In Georgia, insurance companies are expected to propose their 2019 rates within weeks. Laura Colbert at Georgians for a Healthy Future was already expecting an increase, but said this and other initiatives from Washington could bring a bigger price hike.

» Georgia's attorney general on why Affordable Care Act should be ruled unconstitutional

» AJC POLITICS: Trump administration rule allows cheaper, skimpier health plans

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Jamie Dupree.

Jamie Dupree.
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Jamie Dupree.

AN ADMIRED REPORTER RECLAIMS HIS VOICE WITH HIGH-TECH HELP: Jamie Dupree has been a familiar face to Washington politicians, Channel 2 Action News viewers and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution readers for many years. But two years ago, the political reporter was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called tongue protrusion dystonia that affected his speech, essentially silencing him. Although he could no longer file radio and TV reports, Dupree didn't let that deter him from sharing news from the nation's capital via the written word. This past week, radio listeners were in for a surprise: Although his medical condition persists, his voice was back on the air. Dupree shared the story of his comeback with AJC readers in the article headlined "Pulling back the curtain on Jamie Dupree 2.0." Dupree, who is respected by people on both sides of the aisle in Washington, was able to be heard again thanks to a combination of high-tech and history: software that uses archived recordings of his voice to produce fresh news reports.

» In his words: Facing challenges while finding support

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WATCH: Radio Reporter Jamie Dupree Hears His Voice