Seeking to put a human face on the health care debate, Democratic senators invited three patients to talk about pre-existing and chronic illnesses.
Ian Lock survived a rare form of bone cancer that was diagnosed when he was a teenager. "It continues to haunt me," he said, "not only the possibility of it coming back but also being placed in a group with pre-existing conditions."
The senators, including Patty Murray (D-WA), insist that the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act will rob people who have chronic or pre-existing conditions of insurance, by pricing them out of the market, allowing lifetime caps on coverage, and reshaping Medicaid.
"Unaffordable health care is terrifying," said Lock.
Marques Jones, who has multiple sclerosis, says cutting edge medicine has allowed him to be well enough to start his own business.
"But those drugs cost 7000-dollars per month," he said.
Jill Hale, the parent of a child living with cystic fibrosis, noted that caring for her daughter costs up to $350,000 annually, but it's the girl's quality of life she's most concerned about.
"I can't imagine my 16-year-old, who thinks the future is laying in front of her and saying: that drug you're taking now, that's changing everything for you? (You) might not take that anymore."
Murray, who has blasted Republicans for drafting American Health Care Act in secret, claimed, "It completely undermines the protections for people with pre-existing conditions. It exposes people across the country to unlimited medical expenses, even if you get your insurance through an employer.
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) cautioned, "We are only one diagnosis away from a major illness," she said. "I have recently been diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer."
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