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People with pre-existing conditions worry about health care bill

Posted at 8:18 PM, May 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-06 01:14:52-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) Kristina Carlsen, 26, of Tucson was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 6-months-old. 

"It's an everyday thing. You sit down to a meal and you don't see your delicious food," Carlsen said. "You see, 'Oh this is 20 carbs, this is 30 carbs. Did the waiter bring a diet soda or a regular soda?'"

For Carlsen insulin is like gold. She needs it to keep her body working. 

Under Obamacare Carlsen says she pays about $300 a month for life-saving medical supplies. If she didn't have insurance, she said that cost could go up to $2,000 a month.

MORE: Pre-existing conditions: Pregnancy, sleep apnea could make you pay more.

Diabetes is considered a pre-existing condition under the GOP bill. While Carlsen isn't worried about being denied coverage, she worries costs for her medicine could go up.

"I'm nervous, I'm scared," Carlsen said. "The bill itself sounds good. What they are telling us is great. It's this waiver."

The proposed health care bill allows states to obtain waivers that could allow insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing conditions more than healthy people. The bill calls for $8 billion to be made available for states where those with pre-existing conditions could pay more, but opponents argue that's not enough.

The American Diabetes Association released a statement expressing disappointment on the health care bill.

MORE: House votes to repeal Affordable Care Act; bill moves to Senate.

Today Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the principal deputy press secretary for the White House, was asked if those with pre-existing conditions and older Americans can be guaranteed that they won't see hikes in the prices they pay. 

"That's the whole point of this bill is to lower costs across the board," Sanders said. "Not just for those with pre-existing conditions, but to create competition so you have lower premiums, to give states flexibility. That's the entire purpose of reforming this system is to have lower costs."

While Carlsen says Obamacare isn't perfect, the mother of two hopes lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will think of people like her when passing legislation.

"My choice is living or feeding my kids," Carlsen said. "That's not a choice an American who works hard should have to make. It's just not OK."