Proposed health care bill lays out uncertain future


GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Senate Republicans have just 10 days left to be able to pass the Graham-Cassidy health care bill under a special rule requiring just 50 votes, none from Democrats, with the tie broken by Vice President Mike Pence.

The bill would remove several mandates in the Affordable Care Act and give funding to the states in the form of block grants.

For Cynthia Marsh, health care is a life or death issue.

“We wouldn’t be able to afford anything,” she said. “It would be pretty scary.”

Her daughter Aileas has a severe form of cerebral palsy. Between Kancare and her husband’s insurance, most medical needs are covered.

“We’ve been hospitalized nine times since November of last year,” she said, explaining how costly it would be to pay out-of-pocket.

She’s worried what it will mean if the state is given a block grant to use as it sees fit.

“I just think it leaves too many questions when you’re just handing the money over to the state and saying do what you want with it.”

Patient groups say the bill would open the door for lifetime caps on coverage.

“You’re essentially sending a death sentence if you place that cap on them,” said Marsh.

A cap, she says, her daughter would have hit before her first birthday. Aileas’s first surgery was when she was nine months old and cost about $500,000.

“If you don’t have health insurance, you’re not going to have the things you need to keep your child alive, and that just scares me,” said Marsh. “That’s hard as a parent when you need the stuff and you can’t provide it.”

However, support is growing for the Graham-Cassidy bill, because it gives much of the decision-making power back to the states.

The plan repeals most of Obamacare, allowing states to opt out of several mandates and take control of the health care markets.

Our Washington correspondent talked to one of the senators behind the bill, Lindsey Graham, who says he has the president’s backing.

“Both the President and the Vice President have been doing tremendously heavy lifting,” said Graham. “This is the Republican alternative to Obamacare.”

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts indicates he will support the bill. Senator Jerry Moran is undecided, saying he’s still discussing it with Kansans.

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