As President Donald Trump pushed Republicans to pass the latest version of Obamacare repeal with the Graham Cassidy bill, on Wednesday in Trump Twitter world, he was busy blocking the account of a woman with stage 4 cancer who has spoken out against Republican efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act.
After waking from a sleepless night, Laura Packard hopped on Twitter, as she often does, only to find out she’d been blocked by the president of the United States.
Omg. The President of the United States just personally blocked me. pic.twitter.com/MgLfwufOXC— Laura Packard (@lpackard) September 20, 2017
Packard has been battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma for about a year and the self-employed policy consultant depends on Obamacare for the affordable health insurance that gets her treatment. With treatment, her doctors say there's a 90 percent cure rate — even for stage 4 patients.
As someone who worked with lobbyists to get Obamacare passed, Packard has become a vocal opponent of GOP repeal efforts largely because her life literally depends on it. And she’s been tweeting about it a lot.
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Your latest TrumpCare bill would mean 32M Americans will lose their health insurance. What about putting them first? https://t.co/wPObZisLQp— Laura Packard (@lpackard) September 19, 2017
The Graham Cassidy bill is the latest iteration of the GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare and if it passes, a 40-year-old with metastatic cancer could expect to pay a $140,510 surcharge on their annual health premium, according to a ThinkProgress report, “effectively making many families choose between being bankrupted by their insurance company or being bankrupted by their hospital bills.” Packard is 41.
In June when Republican senators were pushing to pass the Affordable Health Care Act, Packard penned an op-ed for U.S. News & World Report titled “Save Obamacare, Save My Life.”
“Getting rid of lifetime and/or annual limits? That means many of us will die when we hit those caps and can no longer afford treatment. Getting rid of pre-existing condition protections? Many of us will die because we won't be insurable anymore. Allowing insurers to remove essential health benefits (such as chemotherapy, or hospitalization, or many of the drugs we need to stay alive) means many of us will die because our insurance won't cover our treatment anymore.
The Graham Cassidy bill would do all those things — get rid of lifetime limits, gut protections for preexisting conditions, and allow insurers to charge more treatments now considered essential health benefits.
“I just wish [Trump] would listen,” Packard told ThinkProgress. “He said [during the campaign] he would come up with something that was great and was going to cover everybody, and [Republicans] keep coming up with bills that are the exact opposite. He’s definitely not listening to me now.”