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We have an extra week to #KillTheBill- Join an event near you!

Old New BRCAWith the absence of Sen. John McCain, a key Republican, from the Senate this week due to an unscheduled surgery, the Senate is delaying its expected vote on the “Better Care (if you’re Healthy) Reconciliation Act” this week. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the bill has also been delayed.

We need to take advantage of this time join with advocates from across the country to continue to show the public and elected officials that TrumpCare is unacceptable!

Our message to the Illinois GOP Congressional Delegation is loud and clear:

  • Reject this bill and pursue a bipartisan approach that leaves Medicaid alone and addresses our real needs: stabilizing the marketplace and improving affordability.
  • Reject any bill that causes large coverage losses, ends Medicaid expansion, caps and cuts the Medicaid program, or guts critical protections for people with health conditions.

Anything less would be breaking their promises to the people of Illinois.

What can you do?

Call the Protect Our Care Illinois hotline to be connected to your member of Congress: 1 866-877-3303 and use these talking points. The phone lines of our GOP House members who voted for the bill should be lighting up.

Join us in several events across the state this week and next:

Protect Our Care Illinois’ Statement on the Passage of an Illinois State Budget

Protect Our Care Illinois is relieved to have a state budget for the first time since 2015. This action will hopefully begin to bring relief to workers, health and social service providers, community members and others around the state who have suffered under this long-standing budget crisis.

However, right around the corner, another storm is looming: if Congress passes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act – which it could do by the end of this month – our state will be dealt another financial blow. Both the Senate (the Better Care Reconciliation Act) and House (the American Health Care Act) versions of the repeal bill include devastating cuts to the state’s Medicaid program, hitting Illinois with tens of billions of dollars in lost federal funding that will knock out any gains we made by coming to a budget deal and more. Not only that, the bill cuts coverage for over 1 million Illinois residents, increases premiums and deductibles, forcing people to pay 74% more for the same coverage they have now, imposes an age tax – hurting older adults at moderate incomes, guts protections for everyone, and puts over 114,000 jobs in Illinois at risk.

We urge the Governor and our Republican Illinois Congressional Delegation members to say “no” to the cruel and unpopular bill. Illinois cannot afford another step backwards just as we are coming up for air.

Now hiring: Coalition Manager

Protect Our Care Illinois is now hiring a Coalition Manager.

The Coalition Manager is a key player in Heartland Alliance’s efforts to advance policy solutions and strategies to eliminate poverty, realize human rights, and support individuals and families in their efforts to improve their quality of life. He/she works to achieve policy and systems change that ensures quality health coverage is affordable and available to all people, regardless of their background, health status or life circumstance. The Coalition Manager achieves these aims through the staffing of the Protect Our Care Illinois (POCIL) coalition and execution of the coalition’s campaign strategy.

This position will focus primarily on defending and building upon the expansion of health coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid. The Coalition Manager will provide leadership and support to POCIL, a diverse statewide coalition invested in opposing the near-term threats to the ACA and Medicaid and in building a movement and a constituency who will champion these programs far into the future. Through the engagement of diverse stakeholders, policy research, public education, communications, and advocacy, POCIL will support the gains made in recent coverage expansions and promote the solutions needed to address continued inequity in health care. The Coalition Manager will be responsible for managing the collective work of the POCIL coalition and for developing substantive and strategic expertise on key policies and organizing tactics.

Click here for more information and to apply!

Protect Our Care Illinois coalition condemns cruel Senate ACA repeal bill

The Protect Our Care Illinois coalition strongly condemns the cruel Senate ACA repeal bill, which is even meaner than the House version and was crafted in unprecedented secrecy. Now we know why: this “Better Care” bill will drastically cut Medicaid, which covers half of all kids in Illinois, people with disabilities and seniors; defund Planned Parenthood and severely restrict insurance coverage for reproductive health care; gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions; and increase deductibles for low- and moderate-income Americans. All while giving huge tax cuts the wealthy and corporations.

This “parade of horribles” helps NO ONE obtain health care but rather strips it away from millions. The Medicaid cuts and caps alone will be devastating to the state of Illinois. Protect Our Care Illinois commends Sens. Durbin and Duckworth for standing in opposition of this draconian proposal. All of the Illinois GOP House members who voted for the House version of the bill should take a serious look at how this bill will decimate their communities, especially rural communities that depend on Medicaid the most for coverage. We urge Gov. Rauner to finally speak up and denounce this harmful and shameful bill.

Tomorrow, June 23 – Early childhood day of action

Tell members of Congress to OPPOSE cuts and caps on Medicaid which will harm children’s health and vital Illinois programs and services!

The Senate is set to move its version of health care reform in June, with a vote likely before the end of the month.  We already know that The American Health Care Act (AHCA) would be disastrous for Illinois children and families. Here’s why:

In addition to Medicaid insuring ½ of all Illinois children, Medicaid is integral to a wide range of programs that serve Illinois children and families. If Medicaid per capita caps go into effect, Illinois would have to make massive cuts to programs that are vital to children’s healthy development and ability to reach their full potential. This means:

  • Loss of funding that 1.47 million Medicaid-insured children rely on for mandated child health examinations, including immunizations, developmental screenings, lead screenings, and physical examinations (including vision and hearing), which are required for enrollment in school and early care and education programs– without which enrollment and services for children at risk will drop!
  • Pressure on the statewide Early Intervention (EI) program (therapies for children birth to 3 with developmental delays and disabilities) to restrict program eligibility requirements, cut provider rates or grow wait lists because of insufficient funds even though we know that children who have their developmental needs addressed in EI are much less likely to require special education services!
  • Massive cuts to statewide Special Education funding, which received approximately $160 million in Medicaid funds in 2016; using state funds to pay for more of our mandated special education services will mean cuts to other school programs and resources that benefit ALL children!
  • Defunding of optional vital programs like family case management, school-based health services and Home and Community Based Service waiver programs (3 waiver programs are currently available to all children regardless of income)!

Please take action today to join advocates across Illinois to help stop this attack on Illinois children! Here are some things you can do today!

  1. Call your member of Congress at 1-866-877-3303 and demand that they publicly oppose the American Health Care Act (AHCA), and stand up for the 1.47 million children across the state that are Medicaid-insured.
  2. Share this email and graphic on social media using #ILSaveACA and #SaveMedicaid. You can also share these Protect Our Care IL graphics and factsheets.

June 14 – Day of Action – Tell Gov. Rauner and Members of Congress to oppose cuts and caps on Medicaid!

Senate Republicans are working behind closed doors on their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Like the House bill, the “revamped” AHCA would throw millions off of health care and gut Medicaid, harming older Americans, kids and their families, people with disabilities, and those seeking treatment for substance use disorders.

Also, like the House, Senate leadership is doing all they can to rush this secret plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act onto the Senate floor. No committee hearings, no public debate and no expert testimony will take place before this extremely unpopular bill is likely to get a vote in the U.S. Senate in the next few weeks.

Illinois will be among those hit the hardest by the Medicaid cuts. Because of our state’s historically low spending on Medicaid enrollees, putting a cap on our federal funding is an especially bad deal for Illinois. If the Medicaid per capita cap went into effect, Illinois would have to find savings in our program to make up for the loss of funding. This means:

  • Rationing care for low-income people, including children with special health care needs and frail seniors;
  • Defunding efforts to address public health crises like the opioid epidemic;
  • Jeopardizing the health coverage of veterans – 1 out of 10 veterans depend on Medicaid for coverage; and
  • Harming communities of color who, because of a long history of oppression and discrimination, face persistent health disparities.

Please take time today, June 14, to join advocates across the country to help us stop this! Here are three things you can do!

  1. Call Gov. Rauner at 312-814-2121 and demand that he publicly oppose the AHCA, 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 AHCA. Sens. Durbin and Duckworth are outspoken opponents of the AHCA, but the Senate bill, if approved, will head to the House for a final vote. Calling your House member now is crucial for building a firewall against this bill.
  3. Share this email and graphic on social media using #ILSaveACA and #SaveMedicaid. You can also share these Families USA graphics. If you have friends/family in these 10 states, encourage them to call and tweet at their Senators to vote NO on #TrumpCarein2018.

Protect Our Care Illinois fiercely opposes the American Health Care Act and MacArthur Amendment

Against all logic and with a shocking lack of compassion, House Republicans and President Trump are plowing ahead with yet another attempt to pass the American Health Care Act. With the addition of the MacArthur amendment, this already dangerous bill has been made worse by completely gutting vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Protect Our Care Illinois stands in fierce opposition to this legislation, which will strip insurance away from more than 1 million Illinoisans, steal $40 billion in federal funds from our Medicaid program, and result in the loss of 60,000 jobs. The new MacArthur amendment is a despicable and shocking “compromise,” which will cause premiums to skyrocket for all Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions. Under this new plan, a person who has breast cancer in Illinois would likely pay $29,840 more per year in premiums, a pregnant woman would pay $18,020 more per year in premiums, and a parent would pay an extra $4,520 per year in premiums if their child has asthma.

“The American Health Care Act, now with the MacArthur amendment, is undeniably cruel and fiscally irresponsible,” said Dave Lowitzki, campaign manager for Protect Our Care Illinois. “There is not a single member of Congress that can claim to support people with pre-existing conditions while also supporting this bill, which will gut the protections that ensure health plans are affordable and comprehensive enough to meet the needs of people combating illnesses.”

The American Health Care Act does not respond to the concerns of Illinoisans and Protect Our Care Illinois urges every member of the Illinois Congressional Delegation and Governor Rauner to publicly and loudly condemn this dangerous bill.

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.

Protect Our Care coalition reacts to defeat of Obamacare replacement plan

After a much-maligned and, according to opinion polls, widely unpopular proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was pulled from consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday, the Protect Our Care Illinois Coalition issued the following statement:

CHICAGO – Today’s decision by Republican leadership in U.S. House of Representatives to withdraw a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) can be attributed in large part to the valiant opposition that health care consumers, workers, and advocates have mounted against a bill that would have stripped an estimated 24 million Americans of their health insurance, while inflating costs for millions more who remained covered.

It is clear that the campaign to preserve affordable health care for all Americans is strong and impactful. Protect Our Care Illinois thanks every Member of Congress who was prepared to vote this horrendous bill down. As heartened as we are by today’s results, we remain deeply dismayed that so many House members still were prepared to vote for the American Health Care Act, despite the havoc it would have unleashed – and in defiance of public opinion polls that showed sweeping majorities of voters staunchly opposed to the measure.

Indeed, a Quinnipiac poll released yesterday – before the latest revision of the bill had gutted the popular Essential Health Benefits protections included in Obamacare – showed that the ACHA failed to capture support from even a majority of Republican voters.

Here is in Illinois, we urge our Republican lawmakers to consult with their party leaders in Washington to urge them to focus on strengthening the protections in Obamacare that allowed tens of millions of Americans to obtain health insurance and guaranteed coverage for preexisting conditions and essential needs, such a doctor’s visits, lab tests, and maternity care.  These are all legacies of Obamacare that Americans support and the Republican replacement plan would have unraveled.

“Providers, patients, and concerned citizens across the country can breathe a sigh of relief as this ill-conceived bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been defeated,” said John Bouman, President of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and Protect Our Care Illinois leader. “We hope that leaders in Congress will now abandon their crusade to undermine the ACA and turn their attention to building upon its progress towards a just and humane health care system that cares for all.”

The next moves to expect from opponents of the ACA are unclear at this moment, but regardless, the Protect Our Care Illinois coalition will be ready to defend the six million Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions and the three million Illinoisans with Medicaid coverage who are currently benefiting from the ACA. Health coverage is a matter of life and death in many cases, and efforts to strip coverage from our neighbors must be called out for what they are and defeated.

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.

Statement on CBO analysis that reveals 24 million Americans could lose health insurance

Today it was announced that the Republican plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act could cause 24 million Americans to lose health insurance, the independent Congressional Budget Office estimated. The House GOP promised repeal and replace but the latest bill is just repeal and destroy. This proposal takes comprehensive, high quality, affordable health insurance away from millions of Americans, increases out-of-pocket health care costs (particularly for older adults) and destroys Medicaid. It breaks the promises Republicans have made that no one will lose their coverage or see health care cost increase. The Protect Our Care Illinois coalition calls on all members of Illinois congressional delegation to oppose this current proposal. To learn more about the CBO analysis, click here.”

Obamacare replacement bill threatens higher health care costs, less insurance coverage for Illinois consumers, advocates warn

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Nearly one million Illinois working families would either lose their health insurance or face onerous increases in medical costs under the plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that Congressional Republicans introduced this week, according to the Protect Our Care Illinois Coalition.

Coalition members urged Illinois’ Congressional delegation, especially the members of the GOP majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, to oppose the legislation, which they described as a prescription for spiraling costs and shrinking coverage in health care available to state residents.   The coalition also cautioned that a bill with such jarring impacts deserves a full public debate, not the indiscriminate headlong rush to passage that has been on exhibition in the nation’s capital this week.

For the 350,000 Illinois residents who purchased private medical coverage on the Marketplace in 2017, higher costs loom as the GOP plan threatens to curb existing tax credits that have trimmed insurance premiums while eliminating financial (“cost-sharing reductions”) assistance that has lowered out-of-pocket expenses that include often-bruising deductibles.

Meanwhile, the plan would reverse the expansion of the Medicaid program, decimating an ACA reform that provided health insurance to 650,000 Illinois residents who had been previously floundering in a coverage void.   Medicaid expansion would devolve back to the states by 2020 under the Republican proposal, leaving beneficiaries at the mercy of an Illinois budget already incapacitated by staggering deficits and with no foreseeable resources to continue to support the program.

Jessica’s ACA Story

Chicago-area resident Jessica Gimeno would be one of those 650,000 Illinois residents caught in the resulting coverage breach.  In 2008 she was afflicted with a rare autoimmune disease that left her hospitalized and bedridden for a year.  Her medical expenses averaged $900 monthly, leaving her financially distressed and physically compromised.  Gimeno subsequently qualified for coverage under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.

“Medicaid expansion changed my life,” Gimeno said.  “I have not had to worry about the costs of surgery, among many other expenses.  But under this new ACA replacement plan, it appears that I’m doomed to lose my coverage.  If that happens, it’s no exaggeration to say I fear for my life.  I was in this plight before Medicaid expansion, so I know just how precarious conditions are without it.”

With ramifications this dire, members of the Protect Our Care Illinois Coalition condemned the cloak of secrecy that surrounded deliberations on the bill and ensuing haste to pass it with minimal public input – even before the Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan agency that reviews the financial implications of legislation has had an opportunity to appraise its impacts.

“It is disastrous and reckless to jam a law through the House in one week that will literally impact millions of people in Illinois and tens of millions across the country, Claudia Lennhoff, Executive Director of Champaign County Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC), a Protect Our Care Illinois member said. “The people of Illinois want and deserve an open and transparent process, with actual coverage and budget implications from the CBO.”

The coalition urged all Illinois residents to contact their Congressional representatives at http://protectourcareil.org/index.php/take-action-page/, and ask them to oppose the legislation.