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Affordable Care Act defended, protested at Capitol

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ATLANTA -

In just two weeks, Georgians will be able to enroll for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which begins in January.

Some state lawmakers held a news conference at the Capitol on Tuesday to get the word out about the enrollment process, but there were also protestors outside the gold dome.

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the act as the law of the land, the protestors said they want to see President Barack Obama impeached over it -- among other things.

"We are with Mack Lee, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz on the defunding of Obamacare," said Chet Sammons of Let's Roll Georgia.

A group of Democratic state lawmakers addressed critics of the sweeping healthcare legislation with its own message.

"We know that there has been a full-court press from opposition to characterize and demonize the plan from day one," said Rep. Karen Bennett (D-District 94).

Gov. Nathan Deal has refused to opt-in to the Medicaid expansion that's a part of what's often referred to as Obamacare. Democratic lawmakers say their constituents are responding to this.

"They are very upset about the fact that Georgia, our governor, would not sign on to affordable healthcare," said Sen. Donzella James (D-District 35).

Blue Cross and Blue Shield has spent $150 million nationwide in preparation for the Affordable Care Act, including hiring some 800 people in Georgia.  But BCBS Georgia President Morgan Kendrick says it remains to be seen if the law will control healthcare costs as promised.

"It's sort of a mixed bag. There are going to be some that are going to be lower. There are going to be some that are going to be higher," Kendrick said. "But an aggregate, from my perspective, it's not going to be a significant increase in average. However, nonetheless, where you sit on that continuum, the average is really irrelevant to you."

Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins on Tuesday, October 1, while coverage for those enrolled will start in the New Year.

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