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Politics

One Mainer Asks: Could GOP Health Bill Force 100-Year-Old Mother Onto Streets?

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A.J. Higgins
/
Maine Public
Hancock resident Phil Bailey expresses concerns about the effects of the GOP health care bill at a forum in Bangor Tuesday night.

The implications of the Republican-backed American Health Care Act drew more than 50 people Tuesday night to an forum at the Bangor Public Library.  

The event was sponsored by the group "Organizing for Action."  Many who attended said they wonder whether health care services will be available to them or their aging parents.

Phil Bailey, of Hancock, says the bill has prompted a lot of questions over his mother's future care. "My mother is 100 years old, lives in assisted living, is on Medicaid - can she be forced out into the street?"

Tim Gronniger, a former chief of staff at the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said that while concerns over potential changes to the current Obamacare health program are valid, Mainers who depend on Medicaid services should also keep an eye on the GOP bill.

"Limits on prescription drugs, elimination of benefits like nursing home services, caps on enrollments for targeted populations and other changes - it's in Medicaid, it's in these changes that, honestly, are unrelated to Obamacare itself where we can really see the true colors of this bill," Gronniger said.

According to the Center for American Progress, more than 116,000 Mainers could lose their coverage under the GOP bill.  The Senate is now trying to come up with its version of a health care reform bill.

After its initial approval in the House, the GOP bill is now before the Senate where many members say they would like to replace it entirely.