Families worried about cost, coverage as Republicans vote to rep - Tucson News Now

Families worried about cost, coverage as Republicans vote to repeal 'Obamacare'

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

By a slim margin, the House passed a bill that could have a major impact on American's healthcare, which is considered to be a major victory for President Donald Trump as he tries to fulfill a campaign promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

READ MORE HERE: Joyful House Republicans vote to repeal reviled 'Obamacare' 

In the current version, insurers would be allowed to charge older customers five times more than younger ones; Obamacare capped the ratio at 3-to-1.

In addition, states would also be allowed to roll back the requirement that all insurance plans cover a set of basics including maternity care and emergency services.

As the bill heads to the Senate, some people here in Southern Arizona are worried about the future of their healthcare.

One Tucson mother of two said she's worried about how this will affect people with pre-existing conditions. Kristina Carlsen said she's had Type 1 Diabetes since she was 6-months-old and feels like this bill will "punish her" for her health.

"I'm so scared of the cost," said Carlsen. "We can't afford much more than we're paying with Obamacare and if it's more than that, what am I going to feed my kids?"

Carlsen said she and her family are covered through her husband's employer insurance plan. She said the cost of insulin as well her medical equipment can cost up to $2,000 without insurance.

Carlsen is the mother of a 9-month-old and a 4-year-old.

"What am I going to do?," she asked. "I will have to choose between staying alive to be their mother and feeding them. What kind of a choice is that? I can't afford to stay alive for nothing that I've done wrong. I've done the best that I can with the circumstances that I've been given."

She wrote an essay in college documenting her battle with Type 1 diabetes.

You can read it in full here: Kristina Carlsen Diabetes Essay

Meanwhile, Melinda Soshie, another Tucson mother, has a much different story. Soshie's 6-year-old daughter Mia Flores was recently diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, also known as DIPG.

It's considered to be a "highly agressive and difficult to treat" brain tumor found at the base of the brain.

"I couldn't believe it," said Soshie. "That's the worst cancer like ... so I thought, what's our next move? That's what kind of person I am. I'm just like 'Well, we can figure it out and keep it moving but, not this time."

Soshie said she doesn't have insurance at the moment and is worried her daughter will be continuously be denied coverage. She said Flores underwent six weeks of radiation therapy when she was diagnosed in December 2016, and was told the tumor "was inoperable."

"The radiation only helped so much," said Soshie.

She claims St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital informed her that due to the fact that her daughter had done radiation therapy before, she wasn't eligible for a clinical trial.

"How are you going to deny and send home a child?," asked Soshie. "Like, what do you expect me to do?

Now, Soshie and her family are looking for other clinical trials around the country, but it's pricey. She said the one she's interested in costs about $20,000.

"I can't do this by myself," said Soshie. "My family can't do this by themselves. We need a community. We need more than a community, we need everybody."

Soshie started a GoFundMe page for her daughter along with a Facebook page to post updates.

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