Locals React to House Vote on Health Care

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"So I'm 65."

Ed Kong is enjoying life.

"I enjoy to be old, actually, 65 is not that old," he said.

Feeling young and staying strong won't protect senior citizens from taking a big hit where it hurts the most.

Millions could soon be forced to pay up to five times more for their health coverage.

People like Kong, who has a heart condition.

And then there's pre-existing conditions, which could divert millions more into potentially costly high-risk insurance pools.

"This is a massive cut to our health care system, for the purpose of giving a tax break to the wealthiest," said Anthony Wright, executive director for Health Access California, a consumer advocacy coalition.

Wright says Thursday's passage of the American Health Care Act through the house, which could cut $888 billion from Medicaid, will hurt people across the country, whether they benefited directly from the Affordable Care Act or not.

"It will impact hospitals across the state, causing cuts to staffing and funding," Wright said.

He said it would be the most destructive for people with the most dire health conditions, which might not be covered at all.

"Why am I doing everything that I'm doing if I'm not gonna have health care?" asked Ruth Nichols, who is battling brain cancer.

People like Ruth, who survived ovarian cancer only to battle two bouts of brain cancer -- a woman who depends on pre-existing conditions being protected by the Affordable Care Act to receive the treatment she needs to survive.

"Eventually I'll just die. I will," Nichols said.

"I guess we'll have to wait and see," Kong said.

They're waiting with the rest of the country to see how the bill might change as it moves to the Senate and eventually to President Donald Trump's desk.

"Everything is just really up in the air," Nichols said.

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