Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Obamacare: Devastated families prepare for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Posted yesterday at 5:21pm

Sarah Pulver is tough enough to have beaten cancer twice, even losing a kidney the first time.
Now she's fighting a rare genetic cancer, and the prospect of doing it without Obamacare — also known as the Affordable Care Act — means worrying not just about living, but bankrupting her family.
"I really feel like, OK, I'll bow out because I'm not going to drain all the resources from the family because that's horrible," she said.
When 7.30 visited the Pulver family in Philadelphia, they were trying to solve this the way they do most things, with a family meeting.
But the only options are agonising if the repeal of Obamacare passes the Senate.
"If it does, and we hope that it doesn't, I mean we'll sell our house, whatever we have to do, to ensure that you have health care, to ensure that you have treatment," Sarah's mum Kathleen Pulver said.
"I mean there's really nothing more that we can do."

'Kids are going to die'

It's a conversation being repeated in living rooms across the union.

According to independent government analysis, as many as 23 million people stand to lose health care under the current Republican plan, which passed the House last month.
The daily scandals from the White House may not always affect the lives of ordinary voters, but this will in a profound and personal way.
Some of the anger was on show at a recent town hall meeting held in Philadelphia to allow constituents to quiz their local senator, Pat Toomey, about how he plans to vote.
The anger turned to rage when the senator didn't turn up and constituents directed their questions about Obamacare and cuts to social safety net Medicaid to a mannequin instead.
Chants of "do your job" broke out.
"I would like Senator Toomey to tell me to my face why my nephew should be dead because if he gets rid of Medicaid, that's what's going to happen. Kids are going to die," one attendee said.
7.30 had no more luck getting a response from Senator Toomey when we visited his office the next day.

Asthma sufferers to pay '$4,000 extra a year'

It's not just the very sick that are worried about the future.
Activist Adrienne Stanley suffers from asthma, and even conditions cheaply treated in Australia can come with a big price tag in the US.
"It looks like folks with asthma are looking at $4,000 extra a year, just for your basic insurance costs. And if you're not able to afford that insurance, then you're paying out of pocket to go to the doctor and paying out of pocket for that prescription," Ms Stanley said.
This Twitter video shows Ms Stanley, in the checked shirt, being arrested at a meeting to try and put those concerns to Senator Toomey:

Helen UbiƱas
✔ @NotesFromHeL
Arrests begin inside @SenToomey office building. #TuesdayswithToomey
4:22 AM - 1 Mar 2017

The group attend every week — they call it Tuesdays with Toomey — hopeful that one day the senator will meet with them.
Ms Stanley said the arrest and risk of going to court — the protestors got off on a technicality — was worth it.
"100 per cent yes, 110 per cent yes. One of the things that got me through the nerves of the arrest was going in with a friend of mine who has incurable leukemia, so she's not able to do protests," she said.

Traumatic wait ahead

For Republicans, repealing Obamacare is an article of faith, and President Donald Trump celebrated with GOP lawmakers in the Rose Garden at the White House.dia player:

Video: President Donald Trump celebrating the passage of a bill in the House to repeal Obamacare. (ABC News)

They say Obamacare is a flawed and collapsing system.
Walter Tsou, former president of the American Public Health Association, said there was some truth to that.
"It's based on a flawed model to start with. Many private insurers were losing money providing health care for individuals and they decided they were going to pull out of the marketplace and that's one of the reasons why its collapsing," Dr Tsou said.
He believes expanding to an Australian-style health system, rather than axing Obamacare, is the better solution. He also thinks the policy change will result in deaths as people will avoid seeking treatment.
"Before the Affordable Care Act passed, something like 45,000 people were estimated to die in America every year simply because they could not access health care," Dr Tsou said.
It's unclear when the Senate will vote on the Obamacare repeal. Deep divisions remain in the party, with some wanting to moderate the policy and others wanting the repeal to go even further.
A vote may not happen for another year, meaning the sick face a traumatic wait to find out their futures.
There's expected to be plenty more angry town hall meetings between now and then.

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