Uncertainty of new health care plan haunts Columbia resident

8 months 3 weeks 6 days ago Thursday, April 20 2017 Apr 20, 2017 Thursday, April 20, 2017 8:56:00 PM CDT April 20, 2017 in News
By: Karla Valcourt, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - With plans of a repealed Affordable Care Act on hold, one resident is concerned with the uncertainty of the proposed health care plan. 

Scott Fines' son, Ryan Fines is like any average two-year-old. 

"He runs and jumps," Scott Fines said. "He hits things sometimes. There’s temper tantrums - exactly like you’d expect a normal two-year-old to behave."

Unlike many two-year-olds, Ryan was born with a rare birth defect known as Esophageal Atrisia. 

"His mouth is not connected to his stomach and usually that means if they don’t have surgeries fairly frequently in the first three weeks, they can starve to death," Fines said. 

After Ryan's birth, the family spent five months in two different hospitals being treated for his condition. 

"Ryan ran up about $750,000 in hospital bills between staying in the hospital for five months, three surgeries, a couple of infections and medicine.

Despite Ryan's expensive surgeries, the family is able to save thousands of dollars in medical costs because of the Affordable Care Act.

"Between the annual checkups, the medicine that he's on just to maintain his health and various other treatments that go on it's about 20 to 30,000 dollars each year in hospital bills."

Discussion on a new health care plan, has Fines concerned. 

"My single biggest concern if there’s a repeal of the Affordable Care is that my son will simply not be able to obtain insurance at any cost," Fines said. 

Coyne Agency owner, James Coyne said while the new American Health Care Plan 'does some good things', he does not like it. 

"A year from now when peoples' premiums don't go down or continue to go up, then what?," Coyne said. "Then people are going to say, "wait a minute, I thought we fixed this."

Coyne is in favor of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, but thinks something should be implemented for pre-existing conditions protection.

Until the new plan is passed, fines waits for an uncertain future.

"That keeps me up at night - almost every night really," Fines said.  

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