CARY – The Affordable Care Act saved the Grover family’s lives, but they stand to lose it all if the act is repealed.
“My whole family has pre-existing conditions,” said Lea Grover of Cary. “My husband’s care costs over $35,000 a month. … My daughter with asthma will lose coverage. My daughter with a spinal cord [defect] will lose coverage. My premature daughter on the autism spectrum will lose coverage. I – a sexual assault survivor – will lose coverage.”
Grover is one of many who joined protests this week across Illinois in an effort to express disapproval to local legislators who voted to approval the controversial American Health Care Act, which could replace the Affordable Care Act.
She attended a protest outside U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam’s Barrington office Saturday, holding a large sign showing a photo of her family.
Grover’s husband, Michael Grover, is a 10-year brain cancer survivor. He was diagnosed before the Affordable Care Act was in effect, and his wife had to quit her job and quit going to school in an effort to support him so he could continue to work and maintain his insurance coverage, Lea Grover said.
When the economy collapsed, Michael Grover lost his job.
“That meant we had to scramble together, and our families all sacrificed so much so we could raise the thousands it took to maintain [Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act] coverage,” Grover said. “Not only because he still had brain cancer that he needed treatment for, but because I was pregnant with twins.”
Lifetime caps – the ability for an insurance company to put a limit on how much they will pay for a person’s treatment over the course of their lifetime – are one of Grover’s big concerns, she said.
“Access [will only] exist if you’re able to pay the premium,” she said. “To insure my husband in one of the proposed high-risk pools, our family will have to pay $140,000 a year. … That’s just to cover him by himself.”
The bill passed May 4 in the House by a 217-213 vote. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, and Roskam, R-Wheaton, voted for its approval.
Protests took place outside Hultgren’s McHenry office earlier this week. Hultgren and Roskam were among the seven Illinois House Republicans who voted in favor of the bill. The 11 Illinois Democrats in Congress voted against it.
The measure next will go to the Senate, where dozens of changes could be made, said Evelyn O’Connor, a spokesperson for the Illinois Health and Hospital Association.
“We [currently] have serious concerns about the harm it could cause to patients,” she said. “But at this point, we are waiting to see what the Senate does and what revisions it makes. That won’t be released until May 22, and once that comes back, we will have a better idea of what the true impact will be.”