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Pediatricians fighting against health care repeal

Posted at 7:10 AM, Jan 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-10 11:43:08-05

Tom and Amanda Ruddy lost their son Thomas to a rare form of pediatric brain cancer in November. He was five years old.

"His cancer had no cure,” Amanda Ruddy said. “There was no treatment. And we were given no options. And the only hope was a clinical trial for him."

Something they wouldn't have been able to do if it weren't for the Affordable Health Care Act covering the costs of clinical trials and making them more accessible. Doctors fear if the law is repealed, patients won't be able to afford the therapies. Or they could get denied altogether.

"If an insurance company decides to deny a therapy for a child with cancer there won't be anything that a patient or a physician could do about it," Dr. Dennis Dickens said.

Doctors say less people participating in clinical trials means cancer research is going to be slowed.

"Which will also impede our progress finding out which of those news therapies are most effective," Dr. Dickens said.

Another protection in the act allows children with cancer to receive both hospice and curative therapy. Without the act, families have to choose one or the other.

"From a parent's standpoint, I would hate to see another family have to choose between the two therapies," Amanda Ruddy said.

Even Republicans who want the law repealed admit it's helping some people. But they argue the rising premiums are proof it won't work long-term.

"If we did nothing you've got 1,022 counties in America today that only have one choice, one option when it comes to health care and one plan,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader said. “You've got 18 of the 23 co-ops who have collapsed. You've got premiums that have risen more than $4,300."

So far there's no viable plan to replace Obamacare. Many doctors say they'll support a replacement, with a caveat.

"If a replacement plan comes forward that retains these protections then that would be something i could support," Dr. Dickens said.