WINNEBAGO, Ill. (WIFR) – Many Americans are fearful about how the potential passage of a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare could impact the cost of necessary healthcare.
The proposed legislation eliminates the tax penalty for Americans who choose not to buy insurance and replaces the subsidies offered under Obamacare with tax credits while rolling back Medicaid expansion. It also allows insurers to charge customers more if they have a pre-existing condition.
$3,500 is what one local family says they could be forced to pay every day to keep their children alive if the American Health Care Act passes.
"I'm scared to even think about it, to be honest with you,” says Kathryn Williams, whose two children, 12-year-old Kayleeann and 10-year-old Kaden, both suffer from Mitochondrial disease, a disease that causes energy production to malfunction in the body's cells.
If the American Health Care Act becomes law, both Kayleean and Kaden’s diseases would be considered pre-existing conditions.
Kathryn Williams believes this means support for their treatment could be drastically reduced. Since President Trump took office, the family says they have already started seeing some changes when it comes to their coverage under Medicaid.
"My daughter's on a medication that she's supposed to get every 28 days and we haven't been able to get it this month because of the fact that now they're saying we'll have to get everything pre-approved," says Williams.
Williams says she is unsure if they will be able to afford to keep their children at home, if the American Health Care Act passes.
"They're beautiful, amazing children that have such will to live that...they need to be here with their family," says Williams.
Republicans say the bill is needed to provide health care coverage for people who have seen their premiums rise under Obamacare. The new House bill would allow states to file for a waiver from the requirement that guarantees their coverage.
Williams says she is worried that all of her children's medications could require pre-approval and potentially mean significant delays on medications she says her kids need to survive.
The bill still needs to be passed in the Senate and many lawmakers are saying the plan needs to be drastically changed if it wants to become law. The process in the Senate could take several weeks with Republican leaders warning that they're planning an unrushed and "deliberative" process as they look for areas of compromise. The bill could then be sent back to the House where debate will begin again.