Wisconsin mom fighting for daughter's health care on Capitol Hill

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- A Seymour mom worries her daughter’s life is on the line in DC. Alana Austin explains the debate surrounding health care in America.

Five-year-old Zoe Schaumberg loves dancing, playing soccer and is about to start kindergarten this year. But it didn’t always look like this lively little girl would have a whole life ahead of her.

“We’re just grateful for every day we have with her," said Zoe's mom, Chelsey Schaumberg.

Zoe was born with a congenital heart defect – sending her straight from the womb into a 10-hour-long, life-saving surgery.

Her mom says today Zoe gets regular check-ups and her little fighter is doing great but she worries that Republican plans to roll back Obamacare regulations could make her daughter’s health care unaffordable.

“I’m pleading with you as a mother to fight to keep the pre-existing protections in the Affordable Care Act," said Schaumberg before a panel of Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill Thursday.

While the GOP failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last year, portions of it facing challenges in the courts. And, the Trump administration is making changes around the edges.

“Congress didn’t repeal it. Now the administration is using all sorts of rule-making authority to undermine it, to pull the threads out, to unravel it," said Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

Baldwin is working to rollback the Trump administration’s recent decision to expand "short-term health insurance plans" - critics call them “junk plans”.

They’re often cheaper than those on the Obamacare exchange, but generally provide far less coverage, even for basic health care needs. If healthy people opt in – those who need better coverage could see big price hikes.

“The bottom line for consumers is it’s an opportunity to save money with access to more affordable health insurance and that’s what President Trump is delivering," said Alex Azar, Health and Human Services Secretary.

Azar says since Obamacare took effect, health care costs went up while consumer options went down. He says the cheaper, but skimpier plans are not for everyone.

“This at least gives you other options that may be affordable and may meet your needs,” said Azar.

In the coming months, Senate Democrats say they will try to push their changes through Congress, but the party doesn’t have the numbers to pass reform on its own.

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