A. Garcia / SFVS

Congressman Tony Cardenas next to Max Page, who was born with congenital heart problem

Christian Mendoza was diagnosed with leukemia at age 14. The Sylmar resident spent six months at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), undergoing an aggressive treatment that proved successful.

“The doctors, the nurses, the atmosphere was great,” said Mendoza of that difficult time.

Mendoza is now 17. He attends Charter Early College High School in Lake View Terrace. Mendoza is cancer free, but still meets weekly with a teen support group at CHLA. He also sees four doctors regularly for check ups.

Mendoza is worried about the proposed new healthcare law that was pushed and approved by the Republicans in the House of Representatives this month. “Trumpcare,” as it’s called, wants to replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.”

“The Republican healthcare plan really threatens a lot of people, not just me,” said Mendoza, adding that if passed, his family would have to divert money he hopes to use for college education to pay for health care costs.

For hospitals around the country, especially children’s hospitals this is a terrifying concern.  Many children are covered by Medicaid which may take drastic cuts or may be eliminated altogether.  Some services could be eliminated altogether and take away the Medicaid expansion that was offered under Obamacare.

Congressman Tony Cardenas who, joined Mendoza and other families at CHLA on Wednesday, May 31, criticized the Republican plan.

“Trumpcare does not have a heart,” said Cardenas, who represents District 29, which covers a large area of the northeast San Fernando Valley.

Cardenas said the proposed plan – which is currently in the Senate – would have a “tremendous impact on hard working families, those who make $30,000 to $50,000. That’s most of the families in my district.”

“It will impact your neighbor on the left and on the right. Americans are going to suffer, your grandma is going to suffer, your children are going to suffer,”

Cardenas also visited with Evelyn Morales and daughter Connie, 20, who was born with a mitochondrial disorder that makes it hard to breathe on her own.

Connie is relegated to a wheelchair and uses a computer to communicate.

“Our concern is that they want to make budget cuts. I worry that this will affect getting her medication, her equipment, everything she needs to keep going,” Evelyn said.

Another worry for Evelyn is whether the new plan would allow her to keep receiving the nurses that take care of her daughter around the clock, or instead  have to place Connie in a long term care facility.

After failing to bring a proposal to repeal Obamacare for a vote earlier this year, House Republicans instead approved a new health care plan that — on the surface — seems equally disruptive for millions of Americans.

The House bill would relax many of the Obama statute’s consumer protections, kill its mandate that people buy coverage, trim federal subsidies for insurance purchasers and cut the Medicaid program for lower-income and disabled people.

The measure is now in the Senate, where GOP members are crafting a bill that would win the support of no less than 50 of their 52 members. All Democrats seem likely to oppose the bill; Vice President Mike Pence could break a 50-50 tie.

Senate Republicans promise their plan would vastly differ from the House measure, including easing some Medicaid reductions and focusing tax credits for buying coverage more at poorer people.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has published an analysis projecting that the Republican bill would result in 23 million additional people going without insurance in 2026, including 14 million next year.

The budget office said older people with lower income would disproportionately lose coverage. More than half of those becoming uninsured — 14 million people — would come from the bill’s $834 billion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years, which provides health coverage to poor and disabled people.

The budget office concluded that on average, premiums for people buying their own insurance would eventually be lower than under Obama’s 2010 law under the House bill. That would fulfill a chief goal for many Republicans.

 But the report said the lower prices would arise largely because many consumers would buy less coverage, while others couldn’t afford any and would leave the market — particularly the very ill, lower wage earners and people in their 50s and early 60s.

Many people in states that under the proposed bill could permit slimmer benefits and higher premiums for customers with pre-existing conditions “would face substantial increases in their out-of-pocket costs,” the report said. It said states could choose to let insurers charge extra for maternity coverage, with costs that could exceed $1,000 monthly.

Democratic congressmen are pushing against this and other cuts proposed in President Trump’s budget.

Cardenas is seeking public help in fighting the proposed new healthcare law. Interested persons can visit the website, http://bit.ly2r9Af54.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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