U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy is pushing a health care bill he claims can repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and also save taxpayers money. Critics of the bill, which Cassidy co-authored, say it would be devastating to pregnant women, children, the elderly and the disabled.
New Orleans resident Ashley Volion is one of the thousands of people who would be impacted in Louisiana if the bill passes. The 33-year-old hasn't let spastic cerebral palsy stop her from working toward her PhD, living on her own and working for a non-profit. But, in order to continue pursuing her dreams, she needs a little help.
"I'm able to be this productive and do what I love doing because of these services," Volion said.
She uses services provided through Medicaid such as 24/7 in-house care.
"The services that we get are costly, but it really gives us a quality of life," Volion said.
Now her U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy has drafted a last ditch health care bill that would take some of her assistance away. Cassidy promises the plan would save money.
"The patient controls the dollar. The system lines up to serve her," Cassidy said. "The theme of what we're trying to do is give the patient the power."
However, the proposal also allows insurers to boost prices on people with serious medical conditions and end Medicaid expansion, jeopardizing coverage for more than 433,000 Louisianians, including Volion.
Louisiana's Secretary of Health, Dr. Rebekah Gee, responded to the plan by saying, "This bill, like ones before it, uniquely and disproportionately hurts Louisiana due to our recent expansion and high burden of extreme poverty."
Cassidy responded by saying, "If Dr. Gee had called and asked how this bill would impact Louisiana, she could have been walked through as to why her concerns are unfounded."
While this unfolds, Volion waits for politicians to decide her future.
"These changes can mean life and death," Volion warned. The Cassidy-Graham bill faces a September 30 deadline to win a simple majority vote. On Tuesday, Governor John Bel Edwards voiced his opposition to the bill.
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