'What did we do wrong?' Healthcare bill worries local cancer patient

Meet a local woman who wants her senators to vote no on the bill.

DENVER - Legislators are facing backlash after the American Health Care Act passed the House of Representatives earlier this week.

A strong push against the bill is coming from some people living with pre-existing conditions who worry they could lose their insurance if it becomes law. One of those people is 32-year-old Anna Rappaport.

Rappaport was diagnosed with stage three colorectal cancer on Feb. 6. At the time, she was working as a public health nurse. However, she said her doctors told her to leave work once she started chemotherapy due to exposure.

Due to her health, Rappaport said she worries what will happen to her insurance if the new health care bill becomes law. She said she first learned of it passing through the House of Representatives during a round of chemotherapy.

"I started crying because I looked at the woman next to me who is in a clinical trial for state four ovarian cancer," she said. "I believe there's 35 beds or so in that chemo ward and every one of them was full. Every single person in there is considered a pre-existing condition."

However, Rappaport's concern goes beyond the chemo ward. While she worries for the people who already have pre-existing conditions, she also thinks about the people who could eventually develop them, too. She said she's scared premiums will be too expensive or people will be denied coverage altogether.

"I'm at the point, as are many of my fellow cancer warriors, where we're going to have to leave the country because I don't know how we're going to be covered," Rappaport said.

Now she's focused on contacting legislators to stop the bill and she's asking for others to join her efforts.

"I make the plea to people like Cory Gardner -- what did we do wrong?" she said. "Look at us. This could be your mom, this could be your sister. Most Americans have been affected by cancer."

Erin Eiselein, a health care attorney, said if the bill becomes law, then states would get to decide if they'd obtain a waiver from the community rating requirement. Community rating requires insurance providers to offer health insurance policies within a given territory at the same price to everyone regardless of their health status.

However, Eiselein said no one knows what Colorado would decide.

"We don't know whether Colorado is going to seek a waiver of the community rating requirement," she said. "It may not. We all may continue down the federal Affordable Care Act just as we have been or Colorado may seek some sort of waiver. It'll then be up to our state legislators to decide what that looks like and what is in the best interest of Coloradans."

The American Health Care Act passed the House on Thursday. The bill will go to the Senate next for approval.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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