(BIVN) – Following the unveiling of a “discussion draft” for a senate bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” (Senate Trumpcare), U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) took to the podium at a Washington D.C. press conference to decry the Republican plan.
Hirono was joined by two other U.S. Senate Democrats, and three patients living with pre-existing conditions. Next to the podium stood a sign that read “MEAN” in large type, a reference to Donald Trump’s June 13 comment on the House-passed version of the GOP Healthcare Plan.
Sen. Hirono streamed the press conference on her Facebook channel and issued this media release:
United States Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Americans living with serious and chronic diseases, survivors, and advocates to highlight how Trumpcare undermines protections for Americans living with pre-existing conditions.
Ian Lock, a survivor of Osteosarcoma diagnosed during his sophomore year of high school, Marques Jones, a Virginia resident living with Multiple Sclerosis, and Jill Hale, a parent of a child living with Cystic Fibrosis share their fears of skyrocketing costs and reduced coverage under Trumpcare.
“Health care is a right, not a privilege reserved for those who can afford coverage. Particularly for people living with serious diseases, Trumpcare sends a clear message – you’re on your own,” said Senator Hirono. “Americans with pre-existing conditions would suffer under Trumpcare. That’s why we will do everything we can to fight this mean bill.”
“An especially cruel aspect of the Republican Trumpcare plan is the harm and uncertainty it would cause to those dealing with the most serious, chronic diseases,” said Senator Murray. “By reimposing lifetime coverage limits in particular, millions of patients—cancer survivors, children with pre-existing conditions, and many more—stand to experience skyrocketing costs associated with living with their medical conditions. It’s not hard to see why Republican leaders tried so hard to hide their bill—and they’re absolutely right to be ashamed.”
“Cancer has affected my life in so many ways. I cannot stand by as the cancer that devastated my family when I was 16 continues to haunt me, not only in the possibility of it coming back, but also being placed in a group with ‘pre-existing conditions,’” said Ian Lock, a survivor of Osteosarcoma diagnosed during his sophomore year of high school. “Unaffordable healthcare is a terrifying thought when there will always be the possibility that I, and so many other childhood cancer survivors, will hear those words ‘You have Cancer’ again.”
The Senate Trumpcare bill released today could subject millions individuals with pre-existing conditions to lifetime and annual limits and skimpy coverage. It would also erode essential health benefit protections for millions of Americans.
The day had added significance for Sen. Hirono; June 22 was the first World Kidney Cancer Awareness Day. Hirono is currently fighting Stage 4 kidney cancer.
In an exclusive interview with KITV Island News’ Paula Akana, Sen. Hirono said her cancer is less aggressive than originally thought, and announced she will undergo surgery next week to remove the lesion on her seventh rib.
“If you have a tumor that appears less aggressive its more likely that the one site is the only site,” Hirono’s doctor, Dr. Michael Atkins at Georgetown University Medical Center, told Akana. “And therefore, I think that if it has a high chance of being the only site, you want to do the most definitive way of handling that particular site, which is typically surgery.”
The Senator expects a full recovery, KITV reported.