New GOP healthcare bill lacks support, even among Republicans

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The controversial healthcare bill narrowly passed by Republicans in the House on May 4th is receiving criticism from Republicans, Democrats and healthcare professionals alike.

The bill would in part would give states the opportunity to allow insurance companies to charge patients with preexisting conditions more.

The bill will now be discussed in the Senate. North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis released a statement saying:

“Now that the House has passed the AHCA, the Senate will get to work to make major changes and improve the legislation. I have long said that any replacement to ObamaCare must address the millions of Americans with preexisting conditions and provide a way for younger Americans under 26 to stay on their family’s health insurance plans. Ultimately, we need healthcare reform that will be an improvement over Obamacare, which has led to skyrocketing premiums and fewer choices for hardworking families in North Carolina and across the nation.”

In the East, even Republicans are against the proposed bill. Pitt County GOP Chairman Mark Stewart said it doesn’t solve any of the problems.

“I’m all for a repeal of Obamacare, I’m all for that, but as far as trying to replace it, and trying to keep some provisions while eliminating others, seems ridiculous,” he said. “Trump was elected to repeal Obamacare.”

The bill, as written, would also discontinue the mandate that employers have to provide affordable health insurance to their employees.

On Monday, a rally was held outside of Sen. Tillis’s Greenville office to voice opposition to the healthcare bill.

Libbie Griffin, a member of the Craven County Democratic Party, was one of the organizers of the rally.

“We want people protected,” she said. “We think it’s the fair thing to do.”

Griffin said one of the most concerning parts of the bill for her was the planned cuts to Medicaid, which she said could have a dramatic impact on newborns and the elderly living in nursing homes.

“They’re the people who fought World War II, Korea, they’ve paid taxes all their lives, and we as a country can’t turn our back on old sick people,” Griffin said.

Among those attending was Valerie Rohrig, a two time cancer survivor. She said if insurance companies increase premiums for those with preexisting conditions, she won’t be able to afford coverage.

“Somebody said the worst news you’ll ever get is that you have cancer,” Rohrig said. “To me, the worst news I got was my government is not going to support me.”

Medical professionals have also spoken out against the bill. Both the American Hospital Association and the American College of Physicians are against it.

Dr. Paul Cook with ECU Physicians said it could have devastating impacts on poor people in the East.

“It would reduce and cut back coverage for a lot of Americans, as many as 24 million Americans would lose coverage,” he said.

Dr. Cook is particularly concerned with what happens to those with preexisting conditions. He believes many would be priced out of coverage, and stop seeking help until they were forced to go the emergency room.

That impact could go well beyond the patient’s health. He also said it could create huge financial problems for ECU Physicians and other medical providers.

“As a result the medical school would lose paying customers,” he said.

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