election

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US Coronavirus: Second highest number of new Covid-19 cases reported on Election Day, with more than 91,000 infections

The country’s five highest days of coronavirus cases have all been recorded since October 29, affirming experts’ warnings another surge is well on its way and will only get worse. The nationwide 7-day average of new cases now stands at about 86,363 — more than double what it was on September 4. And while doctors have stressed basic public health measures like masks and social distancing can turn things around, such measures remain a point of contention in some parts of the US.

Now only five states are trending in the right direction — Alabama, Hawaii, Louisiana, Tennessee and Vermont — while at least 36 are reporting more new cases than the previous week, data from Johns Hopkins University shows.

And states including Idaho, Ohio, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all reported a record number of new Covid-19 cases Tuesday.

In Kentucky, where the governor has long cautioned that infections were climbing quickly, he said Tuesday that “every day, things appear to be getting worse.”

“We are seeing not only a surge in the virus, but more and more of our kids by percentage who are getting it,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement.

Dr. Deborah Birx's stern warning is a wakeup call
His words follow an alarming new report saying that Covid-19 case counts were impacting children around the country at “unprecedented levels,” with the last week of October seeing the highest one-week spike in new infections.
Hospitalizations among Americans are also up, and hundreds of people continue to lose their lives from the virus every day. More than 232,000 have died in the US since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins. And about another 100,000 Americans will die in just the next two months, projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation show.

Hospitalizations ‘sharply increasing’ in Midwest

Across the country, more than 50,000 people are hospitalized with the virus, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project — an increase of more than 67% in a month.

Hospitalizations are “sharply increasing” in the Midwest, according to the project.

El Paso is facing its worst Covid-19 outbreak while trying to vote on Election Day
“In the region there are 238 people currently hospitalized per million people,” it said on Twitter.

In Nebraska, health officials say a surge of infections have put a strain on hospitals statewide. Chief medical officers of three major hospital systems said Monday Covid-19 hospitalizations had increased 91% in the Omaha metro area between October 17 and October 31. Now, hospital capacity and staff are approaching their limits, the hospital officials said.

“We have seen a doubling of Covid positive patients in the last several weeks,” Dr. Cary Ward, chief medical officer of CHI Health, said. “No doubt if this trend continues, not just our hospitals, but every hospital in the state could be at capacity.”

In Indiana, hospitalizations reached a record high Monday, with more than 1,800 patients being treated for Covid-19. The state’s previous record was on April 13, when about 1,799 people were hospitalized.

Covid-19 third leading cause of death in Arkansas

And in Arkansas, the governor announced

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health

Second highest number of new Covid-19 cases reported on Election Day, with more than 91,000 infections

The US recorded 91,530 new Covid-19 infections on the day many Americans cast their ballots, adding to a series of staggering case numbers reported within just the past week.



MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 29: Members of the Wisconsin National Guard operate a mobile COVID-19 test center on the grounds of Miller Park on October 29, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Wisconsin recently reported a seven-day average positivity rate of 27.2%, the highest infection rate to date for the state. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


© Scott Olson/Getty Images
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – OCTOBER 29: Members of the Wisconsin National Guard operate a mobile COVID-19 test center on the grounds of Miller Park on October 29, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Wisconsin recently reported a seven-day average positivity rate of 27.2%, the highest infection rate to date for the state. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The country’s five highest days of coronavirus cases have all been recorded since October 29, affirming experts’ warnings another surge is well on its way and will only get worse. The nationwide 7-day average of new cases now stands at about 86,363 — more than double what it was on September 4. And while doctors have stressed basic public health measures like masks and social distancing can turn things around, such measures remain a point of contention in some parts of the US.

Now only five states are trending in the right direction — Alabama, Hawaii, Louisiana, Tennessee and Vermont — while at least 36 are reporting more new cases than the previous week, data from Johns Hopkins University shows.

And states including Idaho, Ohio, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all reported a record number of new Covid-19 cases Tuesday.

In Kentucky, where the governor has long cautioned that infections were climbing quickly, he said Tuesday that “every day, things appear to be getting worse.”

“We are seeing not only a surge in the virus, but more and more of our kids by percentage who are getting it,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement.

His words follow an alarming new report saying that Covid-19 case counts were impacting children around the country at “unprecedented levels,” with the last week of October seeing the highest one-week spike in new infections.

Hospitalizations among Americans are also up, and hundreds of people continue to lose their lives from the virus every day. More than 232,000 have died in the US since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins. And about another 100,000 Americans will die in just the next two months, projections from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation show.

Hospitalizations ‘sharply increasing’ in Midwest

Across the country, more than 50,000 people are hospitalized with the virus, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project — an increase of more than 67% in a month.

Hospitalizations are “sharply increasing” in the Midwest, according to the project.

“In the region there are 238 people currently hospitalized per million people,” it said on Twitter.

In Nebraska, health officials say a surge of infections have put a strain on hospitals statewide. Chief medical officers of three major hospital systems said Monday Covid-19 hospitalizations had increased 91% in the Omaha metro area between October 17 and October 31. Now, hospital capacity and staff are approaching their limits, the hospital officials said.

“We

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health

US sees the five highest days of Covid-19 leading up to election

The United States reported the five highest days of Covid-19 cases right up to election, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.



a person wearing a blue hat: BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 22: An RN hands off a coronavirus sample to medical assistant Bettie Cleveland at a COVID-19 testing site set up by Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center at Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Grove Hall in Boston's Dorchester on Oct. 22, 2020. Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center set up mobile testing to help their community members who were disproportionally affected by COVID-19, the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan have seen some of the highest incident rates of the Coronavirus in Boston. In July of 2020 they began to administer tests in the city at various locations. The Grove Hall location is available for walk up testing every Thursday at the Prince Hall Grand Lodge from 10:00am - 3:00 PM. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)


© Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe/Getty Images
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 22: An RN hands off a coronavirus sample to medical assistant Bettie Cleveland at a COVID-19 testing site set up by Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center at Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Grove Hall in Boston’s Dorchester on Oct. 22, 2020. Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center set up mobile testing to help their community members who were disproportionally affected by COVID-19, the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan have seen some of the highest incident rates of the Coronavirus in Boston. In July of 2020 they began to administer tests in the city at various locations. The Grove Hall location is available for walk up testing every Thursday at the Prince Hall Grand Lodge from 10:00am – 3:00 PM. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The figures represent the highest number of reported cases since the pandemic began. Tuesday ranked fourth with about 85,200 reported cases, the data showed.

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Last Friday, the US reported 99,321 new cases — the highest single day number of infections recorded for any country. And at least 31 states set daily infection records in October.

Escalating case numbers point to a continuing fall surge across the country, setting grim records. Coronavirus is forecast to take tens of thousands more lives across the country in the coming months.

Experts have warned this bout with the virus will be the worst one yet — and alarming trends are already pointing in that direction. In just one month, the country’s 7-day case average nearly doubled.

Hospitalizations are also surging, with the number of patients nationwide rising by more than 10,000 in just two weeks, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project. Hospitals in some parts of the country have hit their “breaking point,” according to emergency medicine physician Dr. Leana Wen.

Hospital officials in El Paso, Texas, are now preparing to open the city’s civic center as an overflow medical facility and add a fourth mobile morgue. In Arkansas, Bo Ryall, president and CEO of the Arkansas Hospital Association, said there is a shortage of health care workers caused by fatigue, competition from other states, increasing costs and community exposure.

And when hospitalizations climb, deaths are likely to follow, doctors have warned.

The virus’ spread changed the way Americans cast their votes, as tens of millions of people voted early by mail or prior to Election Day. People recovering from Covid-19 or quarantining from being exposed to the virus were able vote, a spokesman for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CNN.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the US reported 9.3 million cases of the virus and more than 232,000 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Researchers from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation project that 399,163 Americans could lose

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health

Virus hospitalizations surge as pandemic shadows US election

Americans went to the polls Tuesday under the shadow of a resurging pandemic, with an alarming increase in cases nationwide and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 reaching record highs in a growing number of states.

While daily infections were rising in all but three states, the surge was most pronounced in the Midwest and Southwest.

Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana Nebraska, North Dakota, Colorado and New Mexico all reported record high hospitalizations this week. Nebraska’s largest hospitals started limiting elective surgeries and looked to bring in nurses from other states to cope with the surge. Hospital officials in Iowa and Missouri warned bed capacity could soon be overwhelmed.

The resurgence loomed over candidates and voters, fearful of both the virus itself and the economic toll of any new shutdowns to control its spread. The debate over how far to take economically costly measures has divided a country already sharply polarized over President Donald Trump’s turbulent four years in office.

The pandemic colored who voters chose at the ballot box and how they did it. While many Americans took advantage of expanded access to mail-in voting, lines were long in many polling places, with record turnout expected.

“It’s very serious that we have 400 people gathered in one space at the height of the pandemic here in Wisconsin. So, we’ve tried to take every measure to limit the movement throughout the room as possible,” said Claire Woodall-Vogg, the election commission director of the city of Milwaukee, where poll workers were spread out into 12 different pods to limit contact.

Iowa hospital officials warned their facilities and staff could be overwhelmed without serious efforts to curtail the virus spread. The state’s seven-day rolling average of positive cases reached 36.4% over the weekend, the third-highest in the nation behind South Dakota and Wyoming, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations reached a record 730 on Monday.


Suresh Gunasekaran, CEO of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said Iowa is entering its third peak, one that is higher than previous ones in May and July. He said his biggest concern is that this peak comes at the beginning of the cold weather season, when the flu and other respiratory conditions typically increase hospitalizations.

“The infection rate is definitely a leading indicator for hospitalizations, and the hospitalization rate is a leading indicator of mortality,” Gunasekaran said.

Health officials in Nebraska said hospitalizations have doubled in recent weeks, reaching a record 613 on Sunday.

“No doubt if this trend continues — not just at our hospitals — but every hospital in the state could be at capacity in a very short period of time,” Dr. Cary Ward, chief medical officer for CHI Health’s network of 14 hospitals across eastern Nebraska and western Iowa said during a video call with reporters.

In Missouri, leaders of several rural hospitals raised alarms about bed capacity during a conference call Monday with Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who drew renewed fire from his Democratic election challenger for his refusal

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health

As voters head to the polls on Election Day, one American is contracting the coronavirus every second

Then, apparently spooked by a projection showing that 2.2 million people could be dead by late summer if no action were taken, Trump listened to the government’s infectious-disease experts, such as Anthony S. Fauci and Deborah Birx. He endorsed a broad shutdown of businesses and personal interactions in an effort to halt the person-to-person spread of the virus, a move that slammed the economy but also slowed the rate of infections.

In short order, though, Trump’s concern shifted from the number of infections to the economic damage being done. This was an election year after all, so his rhetoric again shifted. The country could get back to normal in short order, he insisted, perhaps even by Easter! When that obviously impossible deadline came and went, he and the government’s experts unveiled a set of benchmarks that states could use to scale back containment efforts. But Trump promptly ignored those benchmarks, encouraging states to simply roll back measures aimed at slowing the virus’s spread in favor of a resumption of normal activity.

“The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself,” he would say repeatedly — but the cure was never even close to being as bad as the virus’s toll in illness, the economic harm of uncontrolled spread and deaths.

We’ve been in this third phase of Trump’s since April. His approach to dismissing the virus has at times shifted, but the rhetoric has been consistent. The virus is just this thing that will crop up at times and that we have to deal with. He would often claim that there would simply be “flare-ups” of the virus, which his administration was ready to quickly stamp out. It wasn’t. He would say that his administration was focused on protecting those most at risk, like the residents of nursing homes. It didn’t.

From the get-go, Trump seems to have been betting on the emergence of a silver bullet. Maybe warm weather would stamp out the virus, as he said Chinese President Xi Jinping told him. Maybe scientists would develop an effective, inexpensive treatment such as hydroxychloroquine or convalescent plasma or regeneron, which could be touted as a cure. Maybe his push for the rapid development of a vaccine for the virus would allow — as he and his team predicted — for a broad inoculation program to go into effect this year. No such luck.

Eventually, he seems to have given up. While some experts, notably Fauci and Birx and Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offered warnings about what was to come (100,000 cases a day; a bleak fall and winter), Trump dismissed such grim tidings. He preferred what Scott Atlas was saying in interviews on Fox News, so he added Atlas to his coronavirus response team, where the neuroradiologist pushed for letting the pandemic burn.

So it has. On Monday, the country hit a new high in the seven-day average of new cases, nearing 85,000. To put it in a grim context: There is

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medicine

GW University Tells Students: Buy a Week of Food and Medicine to Prep for Election Chaos

An email sent to George Washington University Students Friday suggested students prep for election week the way they would a hurricane or snowstorm. “Before Tuesday, we recommend you have at least one week of food, supplies, and medicine for your room,” the email says.

Large numbers of protesters and demonstrators are expected in the District this week, including thousands tonight at Black Lives Matter Plaza. Currently, DC officials say they’re not aware of any credible threats of violence in the District, and that while parking will be restricted downtown tonight and tomorrow, they haven’t called up the National Guard or recommended businesses board up.

Many businesses have still decided to take extra precautions by boarding up or closing, and it seems individual Washingtonians have done the same — some local supermarkets have been depleted of food staples like meat and eggs.

Jane Recker

Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.

Source Article

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health

How To Cope With 2020 Election Stress

The 2020 election season has already been unlike any other, so if you’re feeling especially anxious about what the results might be, just know you’re not alone.

“Things are extremely stressful, due to the sheer fact that the election is mounting on top of all of the other factors we’re dealing with, like the [COVID-19] pandemic and social unrest,” says Thea Gallagher, PsyD, an assistant professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “It feels like there’s a lot of pressure around the election and, if the results aren’t what you hope, it can feel like the world is ending.”

That can create an all-or-nothing atmosphere, which might make you spiral into worst-case-scenario mode at a moment’s notice.

There’s an undercurrent of fear, too. “In general, we become stressed when we believe that something we care about, or have a stake in, is threatened or being harmed,” says Craig Smith, PhD, associate professor of psychology and human development at Vanderbilt University. “Election Day can be highly stressful for people who care deeply about the outcome.”

Those feelings can be particularly heavy for people in marginalized communities. “Many are hoping for meaningful change going forward and, if you don’t believe that’s going to happen, that can feel stressful,” Gallagher says.

With all these different concerns factoring into your stress, it can be hard to think about anything but the election right now. And, while it’s okay to have it on the brain, there are a few things you can do to limit how frazzled you feel about everything:

1. Acknowledge that this could take a while.

“One of the things I’m warning people against is white-knuckling it until November 4, because there’s a chance this won’t be resolved in a day,” Gallagher says. Recognizing that and setting realistic expectations for how long there will be uncertainty around the election is important, she says.

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2. Recognize what you can (and can’t) control.

Aside from doing your part at the polls or volunteering for the causes you believe in, you can’t make the entire country lean the way you want them to. (Lame, huh?) Gallagher recommends practicing mindfulness to try to just focus on being in the moment. Apps like Stop, Breathe & Think offer free guided meditations to help you stay centered.

3. Be aware of how much news you’re consuming.

Yeah, you want to stay informed and, clearly, you should. But constantly reading posts and stories about the election can leave you feeling more stressed out than before, Gallagher says.

4. Set “breathers” during your day.

Schedule time throughout each day to take whatever necessary steps you need to put the election out of your mind, even just for a little bit, Smith says. During that blocked-off time, focus on things you love, even if

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health

Unlike previous lethal viruses, this one will define a major election

From a single case in Snohomish County, Wash., on Jan. 21, the coronavirus has mushroomed in less than 10 months to a widening scourge currently infecting nearly 100,000 Americans a day. As Election Day voters prepared to cast their ballots Tuesday, the medical examiner in El Paso was adding a fourth refrigerated “mobile morgue,” and hospitals in northwest Wisconsin were canceling elective procedures to save beds for patients with covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Two-thirds of the public now personally know one of the 9.25 million people who have tested positive for the virus — a new high — polls show. And even more think the worst of the pandemic is yet to come.

“We’ve never had an Election Day in the fog of a pandemic like this,” said Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan. “It will, perhaps, be called the pandemic election.”

How those factors affect turnout and results won’t be known until evening, and perhaps not for days or weeks to come. But it is already clear that Tuesday will mark a singular modern-day confluence of a U.S. public health crisis and the election of a president.

“To my knowledge, it’s unprecedented,” said Harvey V. Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and co-author of “The Epidemic That Never Was,” an analysis of the federal swine flu immunization program in 1976. “Which means one has no basis for comparison.”

In the 1920 presidential election, voters faced a waning threat from the pandemic flu, there was no flu vaccine, and public health was seen as a local issue that did not merit intervention by the president. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not exist. Even during the 1918 off-year election, the pathogen that would eventually kill 675,000 Americans was not a major subject of debate, Markel said.

Periodic flu outbreaks during ensuing decades did not move the political needle much either.

The worst polio outbreaks, in the 1940s and early 1950s, tended to wane as the weather cooled, and the virus was eventually quelled by successful testing of a vaccine in 1955.

Even HIV, which drove activists into the streets, had little impact at election time, at least during the epidemic’s first decade. President Ronald Reagan, who took office in 1981, the year the virus was first recognized, famously would not utter the word “AIDS” until 1987.

Tuesday will be much different.

“I have no idea what it will do in terms of turnout,” said Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“What I’m hoping is that people are not afraid to vote in person if they haven’t voted yet,” he added. “Because I do think it’s possible to vote in a way where you can control your risk so that it wouldn’t be too different from going to the grocery store or going to the pharmacy.”

That includes voting in the late morning or early afternoon, when crowds are

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fitness

Election day freebies and deals from Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s, Planet Fitness and more

Free food and discounts are up for grabs this Election Day regardless of whether you have an “I Voted” sticker.

Krispy Kreme is giving away glazed doughnuts to all along with a special voting sticker while supplies last Tuesday. Planet Fitness is offering a way to work off the stress of the election with a free workout and massage Tuesday through Nov. 8.

With more mail-in ballots and early voting this year, fewer people will have the “I Voted” stickers as proof to show they voted. According to federal law, it technically is illegal to offer freebies in exchange for votes and businesses typically skirt this by offering the deals to all.

Election Day also is National Sandwich Day and several restaurants are offering discounts and specials on subs Tuesday.

Planet Fitness is offering a way to work off the stress of the election with a free workout and massage Tuesday through Nov. 8.

Planet Fitness is offering a way to work off the stress of the election with a free workout and massage Tuesday through Nov. 8.
stock.adobe.com

Free and discounted rides to the polls

A popular Election Day discount is a ride to the polls. Aside from ride-sharing apps offering deals, several cities and communities are providing free rides on Election Day including Los Angeles and Indianapolis, Indiana. Check with your local transit system to see if they have an offer.

Lyft: Get 50% off one ride up to $10 Tuesday to any polling location or dropbox using the code 2020VOTE. Lyft also is including its network of bikes and scooters in select cities in this offer.

The North American Bikeshare Association: The association’s Roll to the Polls industry-wide campaign offers ”free or reduced-cost transportation to voters” Tuesday. Learn more here.

Uber: Get 50% off roundtrip rides to the polls, up to $7 each way or up to $14 for the two trips. Uber says the discounts will be “automatically applied when you request your ride by using the polling finder,” which is an in-app feature. Terms and conditions apply and this offer is not available in California and Michigan.

Election Day freebies and deals

Here are the deals available Tuesday at participating locations unless otherwise noted. To be on the safe side, check with your closest location before heading out.

Boston Market: From 9 p.m. to close at all locations nationwide Tuesday, get one free slider. No purchase is necessary. The new sliders — including Chicken Cheddar, Turkey Cheddar, Chicken Chipotle and BBQ Meatloaf — are part of Boston Market’s new Late Night menu.

Chili’s: Through Election Day, get the Presidente Margarita for $5 and a free commemorative sticker while supplies last. Chili’s also is hosting a contest. Learn more at www.chilis.com.

DoorDash: The on-demand delivery app will have free delivery on all orders with a $15 minimum placed on Election Day with promo code VOTE. For DashPass subscribers that already have zero delivery fees on orders over $12, DoorDash is providing 10% off orders with code DPVOTE. The codes should be entered at checkout.

Grubhub: The on-demand app will have more than 30

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health

Health care: Trump takes last swipe at Affordable Care Act before Election Day

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Sunday gave the state permission to stop using the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, for enrollment in the individual market and shift to a private sector Georgia Access Model, starting in 2023.

State officials argue that the move will give residents access to a broader array of options from web brokers, health insurance companies and agents — which will have a greater incentive to enroll consumers in coverage. They estimate the waiver will lower premiums and increase enrollment by 25,000 people.

Advocates, however, fear that it could shift healthier people to less comprehensive, non-Obamacare plans and leave those with pre-existing conditions facing higher premiums for Affordable Care Act policies. Plus, consumers could unknowingly sign up for skimpier policies.

“Consumer could end up in insurance plans that don’t cover everything they think it would cover,” said Tara Straw, senior policy analyst at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Share your story: How have you been helped or hurt by Obamacare?

What’s more, the Georgia waiver would eliminate residents’ ability to go to a single website to see all their options. Instead, they would have to navigate a fragmented system of broker and insurers — similar to what existed prior to the landmark health reform law, Straw said. This would likely decrease coverage and raise premiums.

The waiver does not meet the federal requirements for approval, including covering as many people with the same affordable and comprehensive coverage as without the waiver, Straw said. This will open up the approval to legal challenges.

The agency opened the door for states to create alternatives to Obamacare in 2018. The Peach State, which has the nation’s third highest uninsured rate at 13.4%, is the first to seek this enhanced power to reshape its individual market.

About 433,000 Georgians were enrolled in Obamacare exchange plans, as of February, according to federal data.

The approval came on the same day as open enrollment for 2021 began and 10 days before the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a case that could bring down the law.

The Trump administration is backing a coalition of Republican-led attorneys general, including Georgia’s, who argue that Obamacare’s individual mandate was rendered unconstitutional after Congress reduced the penalty for not having insurance to zero as part of the 2017 tax cut law. As a result, the entire health reform law must fall, they argue.

Health care has taken center stage in the 2020 presidential campaign. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign has hammered President Donald Trump for trying to take down the law and its protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Trump has repeatedly said he has a replacement plan that would continue those safeguards but has yet to produce one.
The administration has pursued multiple avenues to overturn the Affordable Care Act in its first term. After efforts to repeal the law in Congress failed in 2017, officials started undermining it from within, including shortening the annual enrollment period to
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