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Fort Worth Families Wary Of Health Care Reform Repeal

By Arezow Doost, CBS 11 News
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A 4-year-old autistic boy undergoing intensive therapy. (credit: Getty Images/David Silverman/Newsmakers)

A 4-year-old autistic boy undergoing intensive therapy. (credit: Getty Images/David Silverman/Newsmakers)

CBS DFW (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSDFW.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSDFW.com/Health

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Two North Texas families are paying close attention to the heated debate over health care reform: If President Barack Obama’s bill is repealed, they will likely be unable to afford the cost of their child’s autism therapy.

Four-year-old Cooper Little and two-year-old Miles Roberson are each receiving autism therapy at the Hope Center For Autism in Fort Worth. Their parents cover the high price in separate ways.

Little’s mother has spent thousands of dollars out of her own pocket, while the Roberson family was able to find a grant for their son’s treatment. But Susan Little’s money is quickly dwindling, and the Robersons’ grant runs out Wednesday, the day Melvin turns three.

“I’m filing bankruptcy now; I maxed out all my credit cards to do it,” Susan Little said. “I lost my job because I can’t work.”

Under Obama’s health care reform bill, which was signed into law last year, insurance companies won’t be able to label either child’s ailment as a pre-existing condition.

But Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have filed a bill – titled the Repeal The Job Killing Health Care Law Act – that may scrap each family’s hope that their child could be picked up by insurance carriers without adding crippling expenses.

“It’s beyond frustrating,” Melvin Roberson, Miles’ father, said. “Since Miles is three tomorrow, they are going to drop us.”

Miles will be covered by insurance once the grant runs out, and if the repeal fails, Cooper will as well.

Each family was incredibly encouraged by the developmental results they saw in their child after visiting the Hope Center, and said they’re worried politics will get in the way.

“Just the fact that he is putting together words; I can’t even explain it,” Roberson said.

The repeal bill was set to come for a vote in the House this week, but it was postponed after a 22-year-old assailant attempted to kill Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during a shooting outside a Tuscon, Ariz. supermarket. The vote has not been rescheduled.

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