Cancer survivor says high healthcare premiums will mean giving up American dream

Posted: Updated:
Joe Cockrell beat thyroid cancer in 2004 but is worried about health care costs under AHCA. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Joe Cockrell beat thyroid cancer in 2004 but is worried about health care costs under AHCA. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The House passed the GOP health care bill Thursday. This latest version loosens Obamacare protections for those with pre-existing conditions. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The House passed the GOP health care bill Thursday. This latest version loosens Obamacare protections for those with pre-existing conditions. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
He watched the GOP health care bill pass the House, and has serious concerns about how the bill would affect his ability to be a self-employed business owner. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) He watched the GOP health care bill pass the House, and has serious concerns about how the bill would affect his ability to be a self-employed business owner. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
U.S. Senate candidate Kelli Ward insists people in Cockrell’s position should not be especially concerned about high premiums if they are otherwise healthy. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) U.S. Senate candidate Kelli Ward insists people in Cockrell’s position should not be especially concerned about high premiums if they are otherwise healthy. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A cancer survivor now thriving with his own business says higher health care premiums will mean giving up the American dream. 

The House passed the GOP health care bill Thursday. This latest version loosens Obamacare protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

[READ MORE: Joyful House Republicans vote to repeal reviled 'Obamacare']

Joe Cockrell battled thyroid cancer in 2004.

“They caught it early which I'm very, very fortunate for,” says Cockrell. 

He says health care costs were high even after he got well. 

Once he was able to purchase plans under the Affordable Care Act, he says he was able to save money and build his own business. 

Cockrell became a commercial drone pilot last year. 

“I was able to take something I did as a hobby and turn it into an actual career," says Cockrell. 

Cockrell has been cancer-free for more than a decade but is forever labeled “high risk.” He watched the GOP health care bill pass the House, and has serious concerns about how the bill would affect his ability to be a self-employed business owner.

“If Obamacare is repealed without a replacement that's going to contain costs,” says Cockrell, “I have no other option than to go back to corporate life and try to find a full-time job."

While many Republicans would rather see the government out of the health care business, some of them view the bill as a step in the right direction.

“I think people need to let go of their fear,” says U.S. Senate candidate Kelli Ward. 

“When we allow the free market to work and we get the government out of the way, then we are going to be able to lower the cost of health care for everyone across the board,” says Ward. 

Ward says there are safety nets to help Americans who are sick. 

“There are emergency departments and our community health centers,” says Ward. 

Ward insists people in Cockrell’s position should not be especially concerned about high premiums if they are otherwise healthy.

“I think that's something the insurance companies assess on a case by case basis rather than paint everything with a broad brush,” says Ward. 

Both Ward and Cockrell will be watching to see how the bill morphs in the Senate.

Ward says she hopes the Senate doesn’t undo provisions to ditch the mandate and taxes on the wealthy.

“If they pull the rug out from under us, we will organize and fight back and we will take a stand,” says Cockrell.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.