r 14-year-old Joshua Lemacks of Chesterfield, Virginia weekly archery lessons offer a break from regular rounds of doctors visits and treatments. Joshua was born with a congenital, incurable heart condition demanding frequent care and expensive medications. But that lifeline is becoming more tenuous with every passing day. He has insurance on his mother Jody's work plan.
But if anything happens with her job at a non-profit, they would have to rely on the only insurer left on the Obamacare market in their area, which won't cover the hospital Joshua relies on for special care in Philadelphia. And even with coverage, Jody Lemacks still spends six to $7,000 a year out of pocket for Joshua's health needs, racking up debts that once soared as high as a $100,000.
His case is a stark example of what some 2 million Americans with preexisting medical conditions faced in an increasingly restrictive health market. Where insurers may cover overall care but not certain drugs or might exclude expensive clinics from their coverage to cut costs. Reporter Yasmeen Abutaleb is on the story.
>> For some people across the country the dwindling insurance options are posing a really big difficulty. About half of counties in the US only have one insurer offering plans. And even in the counties where there are may be multiple insurers to choose from, they've narrowed the number of hospitals and doctors for people can see.
>> People with complex cases like the Lemacks have complained for years that the subsidized health insurance under Obamacare restricts their choice of doctors and care. But Abutaleb says under President Donald Trump, it's expected to get worse.>> He's taken a number of executive actions including cutting off subsidies to insurers.
All of those combined had caused some insurers to decide, even before Trump cutoff these payments, to leave the markets because they couldn't rely on the administration to uphold the law. They weren't sure what was going to happen. And for the insurers who did stay, they raised premiums quite a bit, double digits in a lot of places, to make up for the lost federal payments.
>> Under Trump, the benefits insurers are required to cover could shrink further after he proposed giving states more flexibility over their insurance markets, and letting them water down benefits that are now mandatory. Republicans who control congress say Obamacare's flaws are the reason they wanna replace it with their own plan.
But those efforts have so far failed.