Could Obamacare repeal make thousands suddenly uninsurable?

Hartford, Conn. (WTNH)–Will thousands of Connecticut residents with ‘pre-existing conditions’ suddenly become ‘un-insurable?’  That’s the big question this week as Republicans in Congress move ahead this week with plan to repeal “Obamacare” even though they do not yet have a plan to replace it.

Democrats around the country are staging events calling attention to the best parts of the Affordable Care Act and hoping to garner public support for moving more slowly on the repeal.

60-year-old Gaye Hyre of West Haven was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago. It was a time when her husband had lost his job and they had lost their insurance. Her treatment was covered by the Connecticut ‘Charter Oak’ plan, which was eventually absorbed by the Federal ‘Affordable Care Act,’ ‘Obamacare.’  

“I am a breast cancer survivor,” says Hyre, “and if the ‘Affordable Care Act’ is removed, I will be uninsurable.”

Repeal would mean the protections in the ACA, like no refusal of coverage because of pre-existing conditions, would be suddenly gone. Adds Hyre, “Should I be so unfortunate as to have a recurrence, basically I would lose my home and I won’t know where to go or what to do.”

There are thousands of other Connecticut residents like Gaye that would be in the same kind of uninsurable health care crisis if the congress moves ahead with repeal without some sort of plan to replace it.  

Says Hyre: “It’s terrifying, I think it’s foolish and I think it’s something that we all  have to stand up against.”

Hyre joined Senator Richard Blumenthal and 5th District Democratic Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty today. Also joining them was Colleen Brunetti of West Hartford who said,  “My medications cost upward of $250,000 a year and that’s before I set foot in the doctor’s office for exams and tests.”  

Brunetti has pulmonary hypertension, a rare lung disease. Without Obamacare, insurance companies could again impose annual limits on how much they will pay.

“Repeal and no ‘replace’ is a disaster. It’s wrong. It’s sloganeering. It’s shameful and it’s dangerous,” said Congresswoman Esty. And in a turn on President-elect Trump’s campaign slogan now being used by Democrats, Senator Blumenthal declared, “This week begins the battle and that’s why we are here today to say no to the Republican effort to ‘Make America Sick Again.”

Democratic Senators from around the country are scheduled to take to the Senate floor in Washington starting around 6 p.m. tonight in speeches denouncing this move and with events like the one in Hartford today in hopes of holding off the repeal until a suitable replacement is also on the agenda. In the Senate, Democrats will need to convince 3 Republicans to join with them to stop the repeal effort.

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