Photo: Ric Watkins
Photo: Ric Watkins

Georgians hazy on details of Obamacare

Six in 10 Georgians have little understanding of how Obamacare will affect them or their families, but most of them still don’t like it, a new poll conducted for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows.

The AJC commissioned the poll, by the opinion research firm Abt SRBI, to assess the mood of the state toward the Affordable Care Act as we approach several major milestones in the life of the law:

  • For people who must buy an individual plan, the insurance exchanges — online marketplaces on which they’ll shop for coverage — open Oct. 1.
  • The “individual mandate,” requiring Americans to have health insurance, takes effect Jan. 1.
  • Also coming Jan. 1, insurance companies can’t turn down or charge more to people with pre-existing conditions.

Among the notable findings of the poll: a majority of the state favors an expansion of Medicaid, the health-careprogram for the poor. Gov. Nathan Deal has decided against the expansion, saying it costs too much. In the AJC poll, the expansion was favored by nearly 90 percent of Democrats, about half of independents and a third of Republicans. Large majorities of two key groups favored the expansion: metro Atlanta residents and respondents age 18-39 statewide; it was opposed by nearly two-thirds of white respondents who identified themselves as evangelical Christians.

An expanded Medicaid, as envisioned by the Affordable Care Act, would have covered about 650,000 uninsured Georgians.

The poll kicks off a six-day series in which The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is examining attitudes among the people most affected by the law. Beginning Monday, you’ll meet a different group each day — young people, business owners, uninsured people, health care providers and individuals who have to buy their own insurance — and see Obamacare from their perspective.

Full results of the poll will be available to subscribers on Sunday at myajc.com/healthcare along with the full version of this story.

LIVE CHAT COMING TUESDAY: Got an Obamacare question? Tweet yours to #ajcObamacare or email us at ajchealthcare@ajc.com and our reporters will answer live Tuesday 1-2pm on ajc.com and myajc.com.

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