U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal hosted an emergency town hall meeting about healthcare Thursday evening in West Hartford.
He’s been holding town hall hearings throughout Connecticut, as other lawmakers have done throughout the country, concerning healthcare changes by republicans. Lawmakers say these changes could mean the difference between life and death for some.
Ariella Botts is 4 years old and suffers from a rare form of muscular dystrophy called Nemaline Myopathy.
"She requires a lot of medical intervention to support her health to support her breathing in particular. All of her skeletal muscles are weak including her diaphragm,” said Rachel Botts, of East Hartford.
Her daughter turns 5 on July 25, and Ariella said she just wants to be able to play with her siblings.
"I have a baby brother named Daniel, and I want to play with him, and I need help,” Ariella said.
Rachel Botts said just being privately insured, they wouldn't be able to cover her medical bills and support their family of six.
"Without the support of Medicaid we would actually have no way to pay for even one month’s care. I don't know that I can say out loud what could happen if we didn't have the support of the Medicaid program,” Botts said.
Blumenthal says the new healthcare plan being proposed by republicans would take away 1 out of 4 Medicaid dollars and also impact Medicare.
It’s dollars that dozens, including the Botts family attested, are critical to their lives.
There are 74 million Americans on Medicaid; a program that provides commercial insurance to pregnant women, children, elderly and those who make under a certain amount annually.
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, largely gives states the option to expand Medicaid.
The house and senate GOP plans cut future federal funding to Medicaid.
Some in support of reform say they do not want to be forced to purchase healthcare, and be penalized if they do not.
At least nine republican senators have expressed reservations about the GOP health care plan. Republicans can only afford to lose two of their 52 senators for the bill to pass under reconciliation.
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