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Obamacare becoming major issue in Georgia Senate race

ATLANTA — A debate is raging among Georgia’s Republican Senate candidates over how best to rid Americans of what they consider the flaws of the national health care overhaul.

Rep. Jack Kingston, of Savannah, has been attacked by Rep. Paul Broun, of Athens, over legislation Kingston is sponsoring that would require the president and his appointees be covered by the law and that exemptions for small businesses apply to those with up to 500 employees, the cutoff point for the Small Business Administration, as compared to the 50-worker threshold in the Affordable Care Act.

Broun, who is a physician, says Kingston’s bill amounts to a sellout.

“Georgians don’t want to fix Obamacare, they want to repeal Obamacare in full. Unlike Kingston’s bill which would merely attempt to fix the flawed healthcare law, Dr. Broun has introduced legislation that would repeal and replace Obamacare,” Broun’s campaign said in a news release Friday.

Kingston, the longest-serving congressman in Georgia’s delegation, argues that as long as a Democratic majority controls the Senate, dismantling the law piece by piece is the viable approach.
“A lot of conservatives say no, just step back and let this thing fall to pieces on its own. But I don’t think that’s always the responsible thing to do. I think we need to be looking for things that improve health care overall for all of us,” he said.

Broun has produced a commercial attacking Kings­ton, who is leading in polls and fundraising, about the issue.

Former Secretary of State Karen Handel has run ads blasting the members of Congress for exempting themselves from the law, a thinly veiled attack at Kingston, Broun and Phil Gingrey, of Marietta, the other congressman in the GOP Senate primary and also a physician.

Gingrey has responded by vowing to serve just one term in the Senate if the Affordable care Act isn’t repealed.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Republican Party is goading Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn in an effort to tie her to the initiative.

“In Georgia, liberal Senate candidate Michelle Nunn and the Democratic Par­ty are avoiding the topic of Obamacare like the plague,” the party said in a news release Monday.

For her part, Nunn spent the last week touring the state to talk about small-business job creation.

Branko Radulovacki, the physician running in the Democratic primary against Nunn and former legislator Steen Miles, is embracing the health care law. He spent Friday in a demonstration at Grady Hospital in Atlanta with union groups calling for Georgia to expand its Medicaid program as part of the overhaul.


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