Georgian Danny Wilson checks out his medications. He afforded health insurance with the help of federal tax credits. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Jitters for Georgia Obamacare exchange

The future of the Georgia Obamacare exchange market looks a hair shakier early this week following disconcerting news from Ohio and Washington, D.C.

The exchange allows lower-income patients to buy subsidized health insurance plans, making insurance more affordable. In 96 of Georgia’s 159 counties, just one company is left selling such plans, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia.

Analysts suspected Blue Cross might pull out, leaving many rural Georgia patients without affordable insurance. So people who depend on such insurance were buoyed recently when Blue Cross filed plans to remain in Georgia.

The company’s decision is not final, however.

And it turns out, a sister company, Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio, has just pulled out of the market there, leaving at least 18 of Ohio’s 88 counties without an Obamacare insurance company. Both Blue Cross companies are owned by the same parent company, Anthem.

The company erased any confusion about why is was exiting the Ohio exchange. It laid the pullout at the feet of uncertainty in Washington surrounding the Obamacare law’s future.

The Trump administration so far has issued statements and rules undermining the operation of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act.

Anthem’s statement about the pullout from Ohio read, “the lack of certainty of funding for cost sharing reduction subsidies, the restoration of taxes on fully insured coverage and, an increasing lack of overall predictability simply does not provide a sustainable path forward to provide affordable plan choices for consumers.”

This week, the uncertainty in Washington seemed only to intensify, as GOP negotiations to repeal or overhaul the health law, conducted in secret, produced conflicting reports of progress.

A report in the Wall Street Journal said that important meetings Tuesday in the U.S. Senate had underlined a deep divide among GOP Senators. The divide was so deep, the Journal reported, that “it may be impossible to broker a deal to unwind the health law known as Obamacare .”

The news website Politico, however, reported that the same meetings had left Republican senators more confident, and put their “beleaguered efforts to repeal Obamacare back on track.”

Senators are hoping to hold a vote before the body’s July 4 recess.

MORE COVERAGE: Blue Cross may stay in Georgia exchange, but there’s a catch

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