(CNN) – The house passed a health care bill to repeal and replace Obamacare Thursday, and now the senate is working on its own version. Millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions are likely wondering what impact this legislation would have on them.
33 year old Valerie Daniel does all the typical things a mom of two does. Also typical Valerie suffers from a chronic illness. In her case, it’s Crohn’s disease, an inflammation of her GI tract.
No doubt, if the recently passed American health care act ever becomes law, there will be winners and losers. The winners: the young, healthy and wealthy. On the losing side: could be the millions of Americans with chronic conditions, like Valerie.
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Every few weeks, Valerie makes a 40 minute drive from her home in Newnan, Georgia to the hospital for an infusion treatment. “I had no option. I mean at this point I had tried every drug, surgeries, procedures, this was my option.”
Without insurance – a year’s dosage could cost Valerie about twenty thousand dollars.
Valerie said she is scared about what could happen to her coverage with the new healthcare bill, “I’m nervous not knowing the future, not knowing exactly what’s going to be voted on. What are they going to keep? What are they going to do for people like me who have chronic illnesses.”
Under the house bill, now at the senate:
- Insurance companies could possibly put limits certain treatments, depending on the state.
- States may no longer require insurers to cover essential health benefits like emergency and preventative care.
- And people with a chronic or pre-existing condition – like asthma, diabetes, or Crohn’s disease, like Valerie has, could potentially have to pay more.
Now, if Valerie maintains her health insurance without any gaps longer than 63 days, the proposed law should protect her from any sudden jump in her premiums due to her underlying illness.
Problem is: that can be hard to do.
On average, 30 million people have gaps in their insurance coverage because they are out of work, too sick to work, or can no longer afford it.
Valerie said, “My husband lost his job a few years ago, so there was about a three-month period where he was not employed and we were told that we had no choice.”
When asked what grade she would give the current health care system Valerie said, “I would probably say about a C. Maybe a b minus.”
Of course, she is really hoping that the final replacement plan will be A for her, and the rest of America.