Cancer patient and mother of eight says she could lose health coverage

Lisa Demaree worries about changes to Obamacare

Bill Grady
June 29, 2017 - 6:43 am

Lisa Demaree of Kansas City called her member of congress and at least one of her senators Wednesday to voice her concern about the debate in Washington over health care.

Major changes in the health care system are scary for Demaree, who has stage four colorectal cancer. She says under the Affordable Care Act she pays a premium of less than $600 a month. She says she's worried if the GOP-negotiated Senate version of the American Health Care Act of 2017 is passed, her costs could skyrocket to close to $5,000 a month. It was not clear in what form Demaree believes those cost increases would take.  

Demaree and her husband have eight children, all adopted. She wants to see them graduate from high school. She believes congress is looking at raw data, not people.

"I become a number and I become a statistic," Demaree told KMBZ. "I'll put my head down, walk through the fire, do it with dignity, grace and a really good sense of humor, but my kids deserve better."

Demaree has a doctorate degree, but multiple chemotherapy sessions each month keep her too sick to hold down a job. Her hope is lawmakers will consider reworking the Affordable Care Act or she and others in similar situations may lose all their coverage.

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According to the latest score from the Congressional Budget Office, Medicaid spending would rise from $393 billion in 2017 to $464 billion in 2026, which would be an increase in spending of $71 billion. Democrats want the increase in spending to be greater. The CBO report indicates 22 million Americans could lose coverage. 

Given a hypothetical opportunity to talk to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the man who is leading the Republican-led Senate's effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, Demaree had a request and a few questions.

"Look at me like I'm your daughter, like I'm your mother, like I'm your sister," Demaree said. "What type of care would you want for your loved one? What type of care do you think your loved one deserves, and what's the value of their life?"

Republicans do not have the votes to pass the bill in its current form. A vote on the legislation has been postponed until after the July 4 break.

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