In the last week, Americans from all 50 states have reacted with fear and even rage over the new healthcare bill that just passed the House of Representatives. But on May 5, one voice in particular emerged from the choir that highlights just why that fear and rage exists: the voice of North Carolina mom Julie Anderson.
Under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), Anderson says she’s been able to breathe a little easier these last few years, knowing that her sick daughter Loretta would be covered and receive the medical care she needs to survive. But the new plan, now being called the American Health Care Act (AHCA), does not offer that same guarantee.
The main concern is that the AHCA would re-introduce a wide-ranging list of pre-existing conditions, from pregnancy to sleep apnea, which would likely drive up premiums for millions of Americans. Those with expensive pre-existing conditions may also have to enter “high-risk pools,” which in the past have been very expensive for the consumer. The AHCA would also impose an “age tax,” allowing insurance companies to charge more the older a consumer gets. In the process, it’s estimated that 24 million Americans could be left without coverage.
And although the new bill doesn’t consider Loretta’s particular condition to be pre-existing, Anderson’s worry is that the AHCA has far too many loopholes in general — including the fact that states may be able to exempt themselves from certain parts of the law.
So on Friday, May 5, Anderson drove to the local Gaston County office of her local representative is Patrick McHenry, who just one day before had voted in favor of the AHCA. Anderson was desperate to have him hear her case. But according to a Facebook Live video she posted immediately afterwards, the anguished mother was met with more than a little resistance — she was shown the door.
According to Anderson’s Facebook account, she was told not to “raise her voice” in the Congressman’s his office before a security guard escorted her out. And as he did so, she says the guard threatened to “take her baby, that baby will never be seen again, it will go to foster care,” and that she would “go to jail.”
All for voicing her concerns in a public office to an elected official.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Julie Anderson and millions of other Americans whose families were hit with sudden illnesses were covered, and their needs were met. But now, families like Anderson’s fear that they or their loved ones could die, simply because they could be deemed uninsurable — and the out-of-pocket costs they’d be faced with would cripple them financially.
“I’m not willing to let my kid die because I don’t have money,” Anderson says through tears. “There are thousands of people like me, who are watching their kids get sicker and sicker and we can’t do anything about it and people are actively working against us to let our kids just be sick because they are a drain on the system because Medicare and Medicaid are too expensive.”
As she leaves the office, promising to drive to Washington D.C. to meet with Rep. McHenry in person, Anderson shares more heartbreaking details as to why the AHCA would be so devastating to her family. For one, the out of pocket costs for her daughter Loretta’s medical care would be around $12,000 per month without her current coverage — and that doesn’t even include doctor or hospital visits.
She also shares that her husband recently volunteered for deployment, just so they could provide their kids with the care they need. “The fact that he volunteered to go to a war so that our kids could live is not how this country should be,” shares Anderson in her emotional plea.
The bill has not yet passed the Senate, so the fight for kids like Loretta isn’t over. But nevertheless, Anderson is scared — and her fear is understandable. After all, just like most Americans, she simply doesn’t have an extra 12 grand a month just laying around in the event the AHCA fails her. What she does have is a sick baby who is sick and deserves quality healthcare that her parents can actually afford.
And isn’t that what every child deserves?