Patients at Antelope Valley clinic fear new GOP health bill could mean loss of insurance

LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- While the White House and GOP leaders focus on their health care bill, many people wonder whether they'll still have health insurance if and when the new bill is passed.

The Antelope Valley Community Clinic started out in a van and offered checkups, but thanks to Obamacare, it has grown into a health system that treats hundreds of patients each year.

Since the Affordable Care Act allowed for the expansion of MediCal, resident Lori Perlin gets to see her doctors regularly as she suffers from asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

"If I can't get the coverage that I need, I don't know what's going to happen," she said. "I get excellent care here."

The same goes for Maria Santos. She and her daughter both have diabetes, and she's worried her care will be cut off.

The clinic handles about 500 patients each day and about 100,000 visits each year.

"It's opened up the door for them to have routine care rather than going to the emergency room for every illness or problem that they might encounter," nurse practitioner Britney D'Amba said.

Because of more insured patients, the clinic is expanding, but doctors are concerned the new bill could reverse all of the progress.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that 14 million people within the first year of the passage of the American Health Care Act would lose coverage.

But Republican leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, dispute those findings and point out how much the new bill would reduce the deficit.

For now, patients like Lori and Maria remain worried about the future.

"I'm scared to death. I'm really scared to death because I have so many medical issues," Lori said.
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