All posts in ACA

It is not over yet! Keep up the pressure to #KillRepeal!

WOW—the last 36 hours have been quite the adventure in health care politics!

The Better Care Reconciliation Act no longer has the votes necessary to succeed. Repealing the ACA and working out a replacement later was floated for just a few hours before three Republican Senators announced that their opposition—enough to kill it! Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to bother Mitch McConnell! On Tuesday night, the Senate majority leader announced that he will call the so called “repeal and delay” for a vote early next week!

Repealing the ACA without any replacement is actually worse than any other proposal we’ve seen! According to a January CBO score and analysis from the Urban Institute, repealing the ACA without replacement will: strip 1 million Illinoisans and 32 million Americans of their health insurance, cause premiums to double, and cost Illinois $49B in lost Medicaid funding.

So what do we do now? Keep up the fight! The Republican efforts to repeal the ACA are growing more desperate and less likely to succeed—but only because you are standing firm!

CALL GOV. RAUNER!
Republican Governors are the most influential opponents to any effort to repeal the ACA or cut Medicaid, yet, time and again, Governor Rauner has been silent.

Call Governor Rauner today at 312-814-2121 and demand that he stand up for Illinois and speak out against any proposal which increases the uninsured rate; cuts funding for health care, including Medicaid; or increases health care costs.

JOIN US!
Protect Our Care Illinois is proud to stand with grassroots groups across the state who are continuing to host health care protests, rallies, and events! Join us!

The resistance is working: We must keep up the pressure!

You have probably heard that the Senate has delayed voting on their version of TrumpCare until after the July 4th recess, because they did not have the votes to pass it as written. Do not be fooled that the bill is dead. We saw this in the House: any re-write has only made the bill worse, not better, because there is simply no way to fix this bill!

Now more than ever, we need to stand up and be heard! We must demand that repealing the ACA and cutting Medicaid is taken off the table once and for all.

What can you do this week and next? 
Your calls make a difference!  In IL, we know our Senators are working hard to fight against this bill. However, if the bill passes the Senate it could be voted on in the House on the same day! Calling your member of congress is crucial to making sure TrumpCare never becomes law! Call the Protect Our Care Illinois Hotline NOW (866) 877-3303 to be connected to your U.S. Representative.

ALL WEEK: 
Sign the petition asking Gov. Bruce Rauner to stand up for the health care of Illinois families who stand to lose coverage under the Senate repeal bill.

Today, June 28:

  • Show up in Chicago at 12 p.m. today for an Emergency Rally. We will hug the Thompson center with a human chain as activists in DC do the same at the Capitol!
  • Are you in Rockford? If so, join Rockford area residents for a sit-in and human chain around Rep. Kinzinger’s office.

Thursday, June 29:

  • Flood the PHONE and tell your story.
  • Join the Springfield: Emergency TrumpCare Protests here and here.
  • Join the Wheaton: Emergency Healthcare Rallies here and here.

This fight is far from over! Saving health care for millions cannot happen without you!

This is the week to Kill The Bill!

Kill the BillThe Senate released its version of TrumpCare last week, ironically called the “Better Care” bill, and it’s just as devastating as the House version. The Senate bill:

  • Ends the Medicaid expansion, which would be devastating for Illinois.
  • Drastically cuts and caps the entire Medicaid program – putting coverage at risk for millions of Illinoisans, largely people with disabilities, seniors, and families with children. In fact, because its cap is harsher, the Senate draft’s overall cuts to Medicaid are even deeper than the House bill.
  • Would raise premiums and deductibles for millions of Americans who buy coverage in the individual marketplace by slashing tax credits and eliminating cost-sharing assistance. Older people would see especially large increases in costs.
  • Will gut consumer protections, leaving people with pre-existing conditions without access to needed health care. Specifically, the Senate bill would let states drop requirements that plans cover basic services. In its estimates of the House bill, CBO predicted that could leave half of individual market consumers without access to coverage for maternity care, mental health, or substance use treatment.

In sum, the Senate bill would cause millions to lose coverage. While we don’t yet have a CBO score, we know enough about the Senate bill’s cuts to Medicaid and to marketplace financial assistance to know that it will cause many millions of Americans to lose health insurance.

We also know why the Senate bill makes these cuts: they will pay for tax cuts that ultimately exceed $50,000 per year for people with incomes over $1 million.

House Senate

This is the week that we need to Kill the Bill, once and for all! Here are FIVE things for you to do this week:

  1. Listen to our advocacy call with Sen. Durbin about what’s at stake in the Senate and what YOU can do.
  2. Call your Representative in Congress (using the Protect Our Care IL Hotline (1-866-877-3303), and tell them you expect them to vote NO on the AHCA/Better Care bill. Tell them a personal story about how the ACA or its repeal will affect you. Tell them you will hold them accountable for their vote.
  3. Sign this petition to urge Governor Rauner to take a stand on TrumpCare. While other Republican Governors have been brave enough to denounce the cuts in the House and Senate versions of the bill, Gov. Rauner continues his shameful silence on TrumpCare.
  4. Rally with us on Wednesday in Chicago at noon in front of the Governor’s office to deliver the petitions and demand that our voices be heard.
  5. Share this with 5 friends, family members or neighbors. The Senate Health Care bill affects us all – and could become law if it passes out of the Senate.

Protect Our Care Illinois condemns the massive coverage losses demonstrated in the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the GOP Health Plan

Today, weeks after voting on the American Health Care Act, House Republicans finally know how much it will cost and how it will affect access to health insurance. Today the CBO confirmed what we already knew–the AHCA is dangerous and will strip health coverage from 23 million people. The CBO also confirmed that premiums will still increase by 20% next year.

As if that isn’t bad enough, the AHCA completely guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions by allowing states to waive crucial parts of the ACA. The CBO estimates that one-sixth of the population in the U.S., or 51 million people, will lose these protections completely. In this scenario, the CBO reports that the individual market could collapse in these states, leaving health insurance too expensive for people with pre-existing conditions and resulting in the return of annual and lifetime limits.

Finally, the CBO reminds us that the American Health Care Act still enacts devastating and permanent cuts to Medicaid, reducing federal funding by $834 billion. This will result in millions of people losing coverage, most of them seniors, kids and people with disabilities. This is Robin Hood in reverse, transferring health care from low- and moderate-income people to give $664 Billion in tax cuts to wealthy individuals and massive corporations.

The CBO score confirms what we already knew: the Republican repeal bill doesn’t fix healthcare, it destroys access and protections under the ACA and makes things worse – particularly for families and for states, like Illinois, who will bear the burden of the shifting costs. Protect Our Care Illinois condemns the actions of our GOP members of Congress who voted for this bill on May 4 – and we look to Senators Durbin and Duckworth to reject the AHCA and instead develop proposals that improve, expand, and protect healthcare.

Here are three things you can do NOW to make your voice heard:

  1. Call Gov. Rauner at 312-814-2121 and demand that he publicly oppose the American Health Care Act, which will cost Illinois billions of dollars in Medicaid funding and thousands of jobs.
  2. Call your member of Congress at 1-866-877-3303 and demand that they publicly oppose the American Health Care Act.
  3. Forward this immediately to 10 friends and family members in Illinois, especially if they live outside of Chicago. You can also share these steps on social media using #ilsaveaca

You can learn more about the next steps for the American Health Care Act and what you can do by listening to the latest POCIL podcast here!

Protect Our Care Illinois condemns House vote in favor of the AHCA

This afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives muscled the American Health Care Act (AHCA) through to passage by the slim margin of 217-213. The vote came after several intense days of pressure from Congressional leaders to vote for the AHCA in spite of the opposition of millions of constituents and the entire health care sector. It is unfortunate that this pressure temporarily won out, but this careless, cruel, and tremendously unpopular bill still has far to go before becoming law. The Protect Our Care Illinois coalition and the thousands of concerned citizens it represents will oppose it every step of the way.

“Today’s vote brings Illinois one step closer to the brink, threatening a loss of health coverage for millions of Illinoisans, the loss of tens of thousands of Illinois jobs, and a loss of billions in federal funds that support Illinois’ state budget,” said AIDS Foundation of Chicago President/CEO John Peller. “It is simply unconscionable that any member of the Illinois Congressional Delegation would support this bill and put the health and financial well-being of several million Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions at risk. We are outraged that all seven House Republicans of the Illinois Delegation (Rep. Bost, Rep. Hultgren, Rep. Kinzinger, Rep. Davis, Rep. Shimkus and Rep. LaHood) supported it and we are frankly shocked at the reversal of so many promises to ensure those with pre-existing conditions were protected.

”The Protect Our Care Illinois coalition fiercely condemns this vote. Recent amendments to weaken protections against pre-existing condition discrimination made a bad bill even worse. Not only does it gut Medicaid and raise costs on older Americans by the thousands, it now lets insurance companies charge sick enrollees higher premiums, effectively pricing them out of care. Those with pre-existing conditions will be protected in name only and our health care system will return to the days where you can be denied care based on your health condition.

Simply put, this is a terrible bill that will cover fewer people, with weaker protections, at higher costs for Illinoisans.

The AHCA still has many procedural hurdles, including likely amendments in the Senate, floor debate and vote in the Senate, and a possible second vote in the House to accept changes from the Senate. The Protect Our Care Illinois coalition will continue to educate the public on the dangers of this bill and engage even more Illinoisans in the fight to protect Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. We implore Governor Rauner to speak out against the AHCA as it is voted on in the Senate and for the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation to vote against this bill if and when it returns to the House for a final vote.

Protect Our Care – Illinois is a statewide coalition of health care advocates, providers, consumers, and workers, working to prevent the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), prevent disastrous changes to Medicaid, and protect and expand access to quality affordable health care.

Call NOW! Vote on ACA repeal scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

The US House is debating the disastrous American Health Care Act today. This bill will rip health insurance away from 24 million people, make devastating cuts to Medicaid, and completely gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions; all while providing a massive tax cut for the wealthiest and major corporations.

Call your Representative RIGHT NOW at 1-866-877-3303 and demand that they vote NO on the American Health Care Act. Key members of Congress from Illinois are still undecided–your call is vital and could make all the difference.

The House is voting despite:

  • Not having an updated score from the Congressional Budget Office after the bill was amended twice;
  • A Wall Street Journal article pointing out how individuals getting health insurance from their employers (about 50 percent of Americans) could face annual and lifetime limits again;
  • Exempting themselves from the weakened protections forced on everyone else; and
  • AHCA being opposed by groups across the whole spectrum of the country:
    • Health providers including AMA, AAP, ACP, National Physicians Alliance, American Nurses Association, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons;
    • Hospitals — AHA, America’s Essential Hospitals, Catholic Health Association, Federation of American Hospitals;
    • Patient Advocacy Groups including American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, JDRF, March of Dimes, National Organization for Rare Diseases, National MS Society, WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease;
    • Hundreds of consumer advocacy organizations including AARP, APHA, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Disability Rights Network, Consumers Union, National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, and Young Invincibles; and
    • Non-Health Groups – American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, and National Farmers Union.

Please keep calling, keep the pressure up on social media, and come out to these protests, many which began at 9 a.m. this morning. 

SPRINGFIELD
Starting at 9 a.m.
235 S 6th Street
Outside and inside Rep. LaHood’s office 

CHAMPAIGN
Starting at 9 a.m.
2004 Fox Drive
Outside and inside Rep. Rodney Davis office

BLOOMINGTON
Starting at 9 a.m.
3004 G.E. Road, Suite 1B
Outside and Inside Rep. LaHood’s office

PEORIA
Starting at 9 a.m.
100 NE Monroe Street, Room 100
Outside and Inside Rep. LaHood’s office

CAMPTON HILLS
Starting at 5 p.m.
40W310 Lafox Road, #F2
Outside and inside Rep. Hultgren’s office

MARYVILLE
Starting at 9 a.m.
15 Professional Park Drive
Outside and inside Reps. Shimkus and Davis’s Office

O’FALLON
Starting at 9 a.m.
302 West State Street
Outside and inside Rep. Bost’s office

WHEATON
Starting at 4:45 p.m.
Arrowhead Golf Club 26W151 Butterfield Rd (Roskam)

The fight to undermine the ACA lives on

The decision on March 24, 2017 to indefinitely postpone a vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was a thrilling, but temporary, victory in the campaign to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid. Opponents of the ACA still have many opportunities to undermine the ACA and Medicaid. While news reports of new pushes to pass the an amended AHCA or other ACA repeal legislation are likely to persist, many of the most credible threats to the ACA and Medicaid will come from more indirect sources – decisions made by the Trump administration, decisions made by private insurance companies, from budget cuts, or even from offhand comments or tweets. These subtler dangers to our health care system pose serious threats in their own right, but also represent grave risks in the battle for public opinion. We must be ready to drive the public narrative before any sabotage take place, so that any blame for an underperforming ACA system is placed squarely at the feet of those who have deliberately undermined it.

ACA/Medicaid threats on the horizon

Here are threats to the ACA and Medicaid that remain even if there is not an imminent vote on an ACA repeal bill:

  • Discontinuing Cost-Sharing Reduction payments: The ACA provides subsidies – called Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSRs) — to help people with lower incomes pay for out-of-pocket costs (e.g., deductibles and co-payments). Six million people get CSRs and in 2016, 156,500 Illinois Marketplace enrollees received CSRs. The Trump administration has the power – right now – to end these subsidies thanks to a 2015 lawsuit alleging these payments are illegal. This the most clear and immediate risk to the ACA. Without the CSRs, actual premiums paid by clients could go up by 20% or more, insurers would drop out, and enrollment would decrease. This is already causing uncertainty and real harm to the prospects for the 2018 plan year, but could be easily addressed if the Trump administration publicly stated their intent to continue these payments, or if Congress appropriated the necessary funds.

 

  • Poor private insurer participation in the Marketplace: The ACA Marketplace depends on participation by private health insurers. Exits by large insurers such as United Healthcare and Aetna over the last year or two have damaged the law’s standing in the eyes of many and resulted in reduced competition and choice for enrollees. This is a problem – and it could get much worse. Insurers will be announcing from now until June their plans regarding 2018 participation and what they will charge in premiums. High profile exits or large premiums increases could destabilize the market and breathe new energy into the push to repeal the ACA. The uncertainty surrounding the future of the ACA contributes to the flight risk; conversely, agreements to resist short-term tinkering could stabilize the market.

 

  • Administrative policy changes: Many provisions of the law are determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and other members of the administration. A number of changes – that the administration can make more or less unilaterally – could weaken the ACA. Some potential changes have already occurred through the “Market Stabilization Rules” that were just finalized this month and some proposed changes include weakening enforcement of the individual mandate, removing funding from the navigator program, and changing the definitions for Essential Health Benefits. Some of these changes do not even require formal public notice and could fly under the radar while doing real damage. Medicaid is also at risk due to an intention to allow states to impose work requirements, premiums, and other barriers in the name of demonstration projects or waivers. We must continue to monitor these actions and publicize them.

 

  • Policy riders: In Congress, controversial legislative changes are hard to pass on their own. They are instead often added to large pieces of legislation that need to pass, like government funding bills. These amendments to larger pieces of legislation are called ‘riders’ and they can do serious damage. In fact, the premium increases seen in 2016 were due in part to a policy rider that prohibited funds from being used to stabilize premium prices (known as risk corridor payments). This is technical and sneaky; but it can have a real impact. Legislation to fund the federal government before a government shutdown is being debated this week. We must be prepared to advocate against attempts to deconstruct the ACA through this back-door.

 

  • Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization: The biggest “must pass” health care legislation on deck in 2017 is the reauthorization of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Opponents of Medicaid could use this reauthorization as a bargaining chip to undermine the adult Medicaid program or other federal health programs. Legislation is likely to be negotiated over the summer and will need to be passed by Sept. 30. We need to monitor progress of this legislation.  It is not too soon to begin talking to representatives and senators about this important re-authorization.

Stay involved and speak out

This laundry list of horrors does not have to come to pass. Advocates must stay vigilant as we navigate this new, less straightforward phase of the campaign. We can and must speak out about them to make sure policy makers know we’re watching. Sign up for Protect Our Care – Illinois email alerts and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date.

The most pressing issue for now is funding for the Cost-Sharing Reductions. Please view our CSR fact sheet for ideas on how to speak out.

The opponents of the ACA are counting on us letting our guard down and being able to slip these changes in unnoticed. But we can make them think twice if we let them know we have our eyes on them. And with commitment and a little luck, we can protect the ACA and Medicaid – now and for future generations.

Attend an ACA rally today, March 23

Today, the day we should be celebrating the 7th anniversary of the ACA, Speaker Ryan will call the American Health Care Act for a vote in the US House of Representatives. If passed, this bill will:

  • Strip health insurance away from 24 million people, including at least 1 million Illinoisans;
  • Reduce the quality of health insurance for everyone; and
  • Enact permanent and devastating cuts to the Medicaid program.

The bill does this all while giving a massive tax break to the wealthiest Americans and huge corporations.

This week we’ve asked you to do a lot–make phone calls, tweet at your legislator, and go live on Facebook—now we need you to show up. 

We have partnered with groups across the state to host anniversary celebrations, which can now double as protests of the disastrous GOP health bill. Concerned citizens will deliver birthday cake, balloons and pennies (copper is the traditional 7th anniversary gift!) to offices and talk about the danger to their community if the ACA is repealed.

Be heard! Attend one of the events below or grab some neighbors and go the Congressional office nearest you. Either way, be sure to post pictures and videos with #ILsaveACA!

Downtown Chicago Rally

4 p.m. – Kluczynski Federal Building
230 S Dearborn St, Chicago

12th District—Mike Bost

1 p.m. – O’Fallon Office
301, W State Street, O’Fallon

13th District—Rodney Davis

12 p.m. – Champaign Office
2004 Fox Dr., Champaign

3 p.m. – Decatur Office
243 S Water Street, Suite 100, Decatur

3 p.m. –  Maryville Office
15 Professional Park Dr, Maryville

5 p.m. – Taylorville Office
108 E Market, Taylorville

14th District—Randy Hultgren

3 p.m. – Campton Hills Office
40W310 Lafox Rd, #F2, Campton Hills

15th District—John Shimkus

3 p.m. – Maryville Office
15 Profesional Park Dr., Maryville

16th District—Adam Kinzinger

3 p.m. – Ottawa Office
628 Columbus ST, Suite 507, Ottawa

6 p.m. – Rockford
Kate’s Pie Shop Café & Records
6685 E State St, Rockford

18th District—Darin LaHood

12 p.m. – Springfield Office
235 S Sixth St, Springfield

3 p.m. – Peoria Office
100 NE Monroe St #100, Peoria

Watch the webinar: Defending the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid

Dowload the Slides!

This webinar is geared towards newer advocates working to defend access to quality, affordable health care. Watch the webinar to learn about  the latest threats to ACA and Medicaid; advocacy strategies, engagement opportunities, and community mobilization tips; how to connect with current advocacy efforts throughout Illinois; examples of actions you can take TODAY to protect our care; and available advocacy resources and support.

Speakers include:

– Stephani Becker, Senior Policy Specialist, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
– Maxx Boykin, Community Advocacy and Social Justice Manager, AIDS Foundation of Chicago
– Scott Cross, Volunteer Lead, Organizing for America-Springfield
– Daniel Rabbit, Project Manager of Health Policy, Heartland Alliance
– Kathleen Winters, Volunteer, The People’s Agenda-Champaign

Click here to download the slides!

Watch the webinar!


Webinar resources

ACA/Medicaid Expansion Talking Points for Meetings with Conservative Legislators in Illinois

In-district meetings with elected officials will be critical in defending the Affordable Care Act (ACA), especially with Republicans who have voiced support for the ACA repeal. They need to know how the ACA repeal will impact their constituents. Below are some talking points to help you organize what to share. You certainly don’t need to touch on all of these points, but think of this as a menu for what could be helpful in speaking to a conservative lawmaker about the ACA.

Don’t vote to repeal the ACA without a replacement plan that provides comprehensive coverage for at least as many people as the ACA does

  • This is the most important message – make sure they know that is what you expect as a constituent
  • If on a relevant committee (Rep Roskam (IL-6), Rep Shimkus (IL-15), Rep Kinzinger (IL-16)), press them to oppose irresponsible ACA repeal plans in committee
  • Try to get a commitment on these points

The ACA is working for my program and those we serve

  • Mention any new staff you have been able to hire
  • Any new sites or programs you have been able to start
  • Any services your program participants can now access that they couldn’t before
  • Share how the new staff, sites, and services are lowering costs and aiding the economy
  • Share what the landscape was like for your program before the ACA and how it has improved post-ACA – emphasize that you don’t want to go back to the pre-ACA days

The ACA has helped real people in our communities

  • A program participant who has turned their life around thanks to the ACA
  • Someone who has had their life saved or avoided financial ruin thanks to the ACA
  • A friend or family member who benefited thanks to the ACA
  • Stories related to how the ACA is helping to combat the opioid epidemic

Repealing the ACA would harm my program and those we serve

  • Share any numbers or analysis you might have done on how losing ACA-related revenue would impact your program’s budget
  • Any expected layoffs or closures in the event of an ACA repeal
  • Impact on specific populations like seniors, people with disabilities, kids, women, or those struggling with mental illness or substance use disorders

It is irresponsible to repeal the ACA without a replacement plan available to the public

  • We are very concerned about what might replace the ACA, and so far, we haven’t seen a replacement plan
  • Governor Rauner and many other conservative Governors and Senators have expressed concern over repealing the ACA without a full replacement. Where do you stand?
  • We hear from participants and community members all the time about how they’re worried about what is going to happen
  • Why is the replacement plan not public? The public has a right to know what you’re proposing before you repeal what is currently working
  • Congress needs to be careful and thoughtful – you should not rush. The ACA only passed after hundreds bipartisan of hearings and almost a year of debate. It should not be undone in a matter of weeks.
  • The Marketplace will collapse without a viable replacement – even if repeal is delayed

Our sector can’t handle any further disruption after the Illinois budget crisis

  • Share how stretched thin you already are due to delayed payments, having taken out lines of credit, and other consequences of the two year state budget impasse