Families dealing with a loved one's long-term illness are anxiously awaiting the U.S. Senate's vote on healthcare, which Republicans hope to hold next week. Vanessa Johnston reports.
Josephine McGovern was born at just 24 weeks gestation… four months premature. Now 18-months-old, her medical needs are numerous - and costly. SOUNDBITE) (English) SAMANTHA MCGOVERN, MOTHER OF DAUGHTER WITH MEDICALLY COMPLEX CONDITION, SAYING: "Currently her medical expenses with Medicaid and primary insurance, if we didn't have that coverage, it's about 26,000 dollars a month." Josephine is being treated for chronic lung disease and pulmonary hypertension. And the McGoverns fear the Republicans' Senate bill could leave her uninsurable. Under their plan, the Affordable Care Act's expansion of Medicaid -- health insurance for the poor and disabled -- would end and federal Medicaid spending cut sharply starting in 2025. Critics say it would also erode Obamacare's protection for people with pre-existing conditions. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SAMANTHA MCGOVERN, MOTHER OF DAUGHTER WITH MEDICALLY COMPLEX CONDITION, SAYING: "Healthcare's not perfect; the ACA isn't perfect, but just burning it to the ground is not the solution. It's going to hurt too many people too quickly, and no one has a plan for what happens to us." It's a feeling of anxiety Venecia Marchena knows all too well. Her 90-year-old mother Aura Sepulveda -- an Alzheimer's patient in the Bronx -- relies on Medicaid. Marchena says it allows her to live a "dignified life", with a full-time nurse that helps her do everything from preparing meals to visiting the doctor. (SOUNDBITE) (English) VENECIA MARCHENA, DAUGHTER OF ALZHEIMER'S PATIENT, SAYING: "We don't want any more; I just don't want any less, because I know what she has now she needs. And if they take something away from her, she's going to suffer, and a lot of other people are going to suffer also." But Republicans say urgent reforms are essential in order to stabilize insurance markets, lower premiums, and make Medicaid financially sustainable. Andy McKinley of Washington, DC, hopes Republicans and Democrats can work together to make sure families like his won't be financially devastated by reforms. His three-year-old son Cameron was diagnosed with infantile idiopathic scoliosis. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDY MCKINLEY, FATHER OF SON WITH INFANTILE IDIOPATHIC SCOLIOSIS, SAYING: "I would hope that those one-on-one stories would really resonate, rather than just the, you know, standard red meat that is served up at a campaign rally." As Republican senators wrangle over details of the bill, which they aim to bring to a vote next week… ...these families are doing all they can to ensure they won't be left out.