A couple of weeks ago, I talked to a 28-year-old woman living with stage 4 colon cancer about what she feared most from the looming repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
The ACA made health insurance affordable, Julienne Edwards told me, despite her chronic condition. Her nightmare scenario was that repealing the law could mean she wouldn't be able to afford the treatments she may need down the road, or that her family would have to turn to crowdfunding to pay for the cost of her care.
Yesterday, the House Republicans finally released their replacement plan for the ACA in the form of two bills (one from the Energy and Commerce Committee and another from the Ways and Means Committee). Edwards and more than 117 million Americans like her who are living with a chronic illness now have a clearer picture of what their lives will look if the Republicans get their way in Congress.
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Edwards's nightmare, at least for now, seems a little more possible — but with some big caveats. The American Health Care Act, as the new Republican plan is called, would continue some of the ACA's provisions that seemed to be designed to protect chronic disease patients like Edwards. Under the new plan, people still couldn't be denied coverage, and insurers would be prohibited from having "lifetime limits," a maximum on how much they'll spend on one person's health care.