- Title: Families 'terrified' of healthcare cuts ahead of U.S. Senate vote
- Date: 12th July 2017
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF U.S. CAPITOL
- Embargoed: 26th July 2017 16:57
- Keywords: Senate Republican healthcare plan Medicaid pre-existing conditions healthcare reform Obamacare
- Location: SPRINGFIELD, VIRGINIA / NEW YORK, NEW YORK / WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: SPRINGFIELD, VIRGINIA / NEW YORK, NEW YORK / WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA0026PFGLL3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Families dealing with a loved one's long-term illness say they are "terrified" of what will happen to their healthcare coverage if the Senate Republicans' proposed reforms come to pass.
Samantha McGovern's daughter Josephine, who was born premature at 24 weeks gestation, suffers from chronic lung disease and pulmonary hypertension.
Having had a tracheotomy tube inserted, the 18-month-old depends on a vent 24 hours a day in order to breathe and must be fed through a gastrostomy tube.
"Currently her medical expenses with Medicaid and primary insurance, if we didn't have that coverage, it's about 26,000 dollars a month," said McGovern of Springfield, Virginia, who fears Josephine could be deemed uninsurable under the Republican bill.
"No one has a plan for what happens to us."
In the New York borough of the Bronx, Venecia Marchena worries that Republicans' proposed cuts to Medicaid would negatively affect her 90-year-old mother who suffers from Alzheimer's disease.
Aura Sepulveda requires full-time care in order to perform even the most basic tasks, she said, from preparing food to visiting the doctor.
"We don't want any more; I just don't want any less, because I know what she has now she needs," said Marchena. "If they take something away from her, she's going to suffer, and a lot of other people are going to suffer also."
Andy McKinley, a stay-at-home father in Washington, D.C., said he has been watching the congressional debates on healthcare with trepidation.
His three-year-old son Cameron was diagnosed with infantile idiopathic scoliosis and must wear a brace to correct his spine.
McKinley is concerned that people with pre-existing conditions would be vulnerable under the Republican plan and that his family's medical expenses could skyrocket.
"We just don't know if the brace will stop working, and so we don't know if he'll need surgery with a growth rod, if he will need PT (physical therapy)," he said. "If those aren't covered, then we're all paying...potentially out-of-pocket for that."
Republican officials have argued that urgent healthcare reforms are essential in order to stabilize insurance markets, lower premiums, and make Medicaid more financially sustainable.
The current Senate legislation would phase out the Medicaid expansion, drastically cut federal Medicaid spending beginning in 2025, repeal most of Obamacare's taxes, end a penalty on Americans who do not obtain insurance and overhaul Obamacare's subsidies to help people buy insurance with tax credits. Critics say it would also erode Obamacare's protection for people with pre-existing conditions.
On Tuesday (July 11) U.S. Senate Republicans said they will seek to bring their healthcare overhaul to the Senate floor next week after a lengthy intra-party struggle, but it remained unclear whether they had the votes to pass the measure or even what form it would finally take.
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