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Worried About ACA Repeal, Arizona Constituents Keep Pressure On Flake

Stacey Lihn
(Photo by Will Stone - KJZZ)
Stacey Lihn of Phoenix worries an ACA repeal would jeopardize care for her daughter who has a congenital heart defect.

As the U.S. Senate mulls its next step on health care, community groups and constituents are keeping the pressure on Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake. Some shared those concerns at Flake's office in Phoenix on Wednesday.

Flake never came out definitively in favor or against the Senate bill, but he has said he would support the backup option — repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and then replace it later.

Despite opposition from several key Republicans, Senate leadership has indicated they would like to vote on the motion to proceed next week. That prospect has Stacey Lihn of north Phoenix concerned. Her daughter was born with a severe congenital heart defect, which left her with only half a heart.

MORE: Even Without Repeal, Arizona ACA Marketplace Could Be At Risk

“She could go into heart failure at any time, which would take me away from my job," said Lihn, who currently gets health care through her employer. "I would hate to choose between sitting bedside in the hospital with your child or going to work to save health care and have insurance.”

The Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association and others have come out against a straight up repeal without a replacement, in part because it would phase out Medicaid expansion and disrupt the ACA's individual marketplace.

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.