WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has often said he doesn’t want people “dying in the streets” for lack of health care.
But in the United States, where chronic conditions are the major diseases, people decline slowly. Preventive care and routine screening can make a big difference for those at risk for things such as heart problems and cancer, especially over time.
That edge is what doctors and patients fear will be compromised if Republican efforts to repeal the Obama-era health law lead to more uninsured people. The uninsured tend to postpone care until problems break through.
It’s a message that lawmakers are hearing from doctors’ groups and constituents, in letters and emails, and at town hall meetings.
About 10 years ago, Cathy Cooper of Ocala, Florida, was battling a blood cancer. Against doctor’s advice, she continued to work full time as a paralegal, through chemotherapy and radiation, just to preserve her health insurance. Cooper said she would schedule chemo on Fridays, spend the weekend sick from side effects and report back to work Monday.
Now in her early 30s, Cooper is healthy. She has her own business as a photographer specializing in maternity, newborns, families and seniors, and a family of her own. Her health insurance is through HealthCare.gov. With her cancer history, Cooper is worried about changes under debate that may reduce options for people with medical conditions. She said she voted for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.
“The ‘dying in the streets’ thing — it’s an over-time process,” said Cooper. “If I didn’t have insurance, it (cancer) could just keep forming inside me and I wouldn’t know. Then I’d go into the hospital, and there’s nothing they could do. And then, yeah, I could die in the street. But that’s because I wouldn’t have had insurance to get things checked out prior to that…