DENVER (CBS4) – The first Congressional test for the Republican health care bill comes on Thursday. A vote is scheduled in the House of Representatives.
A CBS News tally has 29 Republicans saying they will vote against the bill in its current form. If that holds, it won’t pass.
A major sticking point for Republicans and Democrats alike is the rollback of the Medicaid expansion, which was one of the cornerstones of Obamacare. Millions of people could lose their coverage if the rollback remains part of the GOP plan.
CBS4 interviewed the family of young Coloradan Cici Fischer, who says if the bill passes as is, it could financially wipe them out.
The accident that changed Fischer’s life could have happened to anyone. She was 11 months old when she choked on a piece of fruit and suffered a brain injury.
“She she died in my arms when I was trying to save her,” her mother Jenny said.
To pay for Cici’s expanding medical needs her parents applied for a Medicaid waiver, where they received some help but sat on a wait list until the passage of the Affordable Care Act. It pays for nearly every aspect of Cici’s life: therapy, nursing care, even her $25,000 wheelchair.
“Right now our family is stable and productive because of Medicaid,” Jenny said.
Cici’s siblings are all under the family’s separate health insurance. They say plans to gut Medicaid would force them to pay out of pocket.
“It feels like our most vulnerable population isn’t important,” Jenny said.
Heidi Baskfield of Children’s Hospital Colorado says removing the Medicaid expansion will have dire consequences.
“Medicaid is the one and only source that provides for comprehensive coverage for complicated needs,” she said.
Baskfield says it would limit the hospital’s ability to care and the patients who need that care.
“When you start taking away or drilling back the coverage or the benefits within that program you’re impacting that child for the rest of her life,” Baskfield said.
The Fischers worry if the Republican health care plan passes, families in their situation will be ruined.
“We’re all one accident, tragedy, diagnosis away from this situation. All of us,” Jenny said.
Hospital administrators say the Republican plan will hurt the sickest of the sick. They are urging Congress to work to repair the Affordable Care act instead.