Created: Sat, 28 Sep 2013 01:16:00 EST
Updated: Sun, 29 Sep 2013 11:44:46 EST
ATLANTA (AP) — After a protracted political debate, residents in Georgia will soon start buying health insurance on a federally run exchange. The online exchanges are a key part of President Barack Obama's overhaul of health insurance laws. Under the Affordable Care Act, virtually all Americans must have health insurance starting Jan. 1 or pay a penalty. The exchanges allow people without employer-provided health care to purchase insurance plans and qualify for government subsidies intended to defray the costs. The exchanges start operating Tuesday. In Georgia, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal opted against having the state government run the exchanges. An opponent of Obama's health care proposal, he also declined to expand the state's Medicaid program to cover more of the uninsured.