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URGENT: Tell your representatives to speak up – the Graham-Cassidy bill is devastating for Illinois

Just when we thought the Congress had moved on to bipartisan efforts to improve on the ACA and fund children’s health insurance, Sens. Graham and Cassidy introduced their new and even WORSE ACA Repeal bill. Unfortunately, this bill is gaining steam as the Senate has only until Sept. 30 to pass it with only 50 votes.

We need to fight harder than ever to stop this last ditch effort to strip millions of people of their health insurance.  In Illinois that means calling on our members of the House to publicly oppose the Graham-Cassidy proposal.

If this bill is approved in the Senate, it still needs a vote in the House. Public opposition from the House NOW could stop this bill in its tracks–yet many Members of Congress from Illinois have been silent.

We need you to call your Member of Congress today (1-866-877-3303) and tell them to publicly oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill – which could come to the House as early as next week!

The financial impact of Graham-Cassidy in Illinois is clear. An Avalere report shows that Illinois would lose $8 billion dollars for Medicaid between 2020 and 2026—money that will be given instead to states that did not expand Medicaid. When this block grant expires, Illinois will lose $10 billion in 2027 alone.

In addition, Graham-Cassidy would:

  • Decimate the fragile Illinois budget, by cutting $153 billion in health care funding by 2036, including $8 billion that will be given to other states that chose not to expand Medicaid;
  • Eliminate the financial assistance that helps low- and moderate-income families purchase health care coverage;
  • End expanded Medicaid coverage that helps millions of low-income adults;
  • Jeopardize access to the most effective treatments for addiction and weaken states’ efforts to address the current crisis of drug overdose deaths;
  • Undermine essential protections for people with pre-existing conditions;
  • Resurrect – and worsen – the devastating cuts in coverage and benefits that the American public and the majority of Congress have already rejected.

Please call your Member of Congress today (866) 877-3303 and tell them that the Graham-Cassidy bill is extremely harmful to Illinois families. Tell them you want them to return to the bipartisan talks that were finally starting in Congress to stabilize the Marketplace.

Thank you for all that you have done the past 9 months to help Protect Our Care and defeat the continuous onslaught of ACA repeal bills. YOU are the reason why we have gotten this far!

Tell Gov. Rauner to oppose the newest ACA repeal effort

Once again, Republican leaders in Congress are aiming to destroy the American health care system and they are hoping that Americans aren’t paying attention. Despite recent progress on health care, including a return to regular order and moving toward bipartisan proposals, a small group of Senators have remained committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and gutting Medicaid.

The Graham Cassidy repeal bill is dangerous and we MUST do everything we can to stop this bill in its tracks. If this bill passes, the state of Illinois would lose $1.4 billion in federal Medicaid funding by 2026, rising to $9.26 billion in 2027. Call Gov. Bruce Rauner at 312-814-2121 NOW and demand that he publicly oppose the Graham Cassidy proposal. Governors have proven to be crucial in building opposition to ACA repeal in Congress, but Rauner has been silent as the health of Illinoisans hangs in the balance.

This bill would: 

  • Eliminate the financial assistance that helps low- and moderate-income families purchase health care coverage;
  • End expanded Medicaid coverage that helps millions of low-income adults;
  • Jeopardize access to the most effective treatments for addiction and weaken states’ efforts to address the current crisis of drug overdose deaths;
  • Undermine essential protections for people with pre-existing conditions;
  • Resurrect – and worsen – the devastating cuts in coverage and benefits that the American public and the majority of Congress have already rejected.

The American public has moved on from repeal. They want and expect Republicans and Democrats to work together to stabilize the health insurance Marketplaces and take steps to help people afford the coverage that they need. This is where Congress should be placing its focus, not on a last ditch attempt to resurrect ACA repeal measures that the Senate has already rejected.

Over the last eleven months, activists across Illinois have come together to save health care more than once. We know that it has been emotionally and physically draining, but we can’t stop fighting.

Thank you for all that you have done and will continue to do.

POCIL statement on Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson ACA repeal plan

Protect Our Care Illinois calls on all members of the Senate to immediately reject the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson ACA Repeal plan introduced today. This latest ACA repeal bill is a huge step backwards just at a time when Congress was beginning to look for bipartisan solutions to help all Americans have access to affordable health care coverage. These four Senators are moving in opposition to the will of the American people and in contravention of the advice of their fellow Republican governors and colleagues who have been testifying and participating on the Senate HELP Committee this week to stabilize insurance markets and protect coverage gains.

The news this week that the uninsured rates across the country continue to fall is encouraging but we must remain vigilant and not again entertain dangerous proposals such as this one that would eliminate the ACA tax credits and end the Medicaid Expansion (shown to be the primary coverage vehicle impacting the uninsured rate). It would also drastically limit Medicaid funding for seniors, children and people with disabilities. Now is the time to work together – not to go back to partisan, unpopular and dangerous proposals to end coverage that is working and needs to be supported not destroyed.

POCIL statement on Trump administration’s cut of funding for ACA advertising and outreach

Yesterday, the Trump administration took a drastic step to weaken the Affordable Care Act. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a 90% cut in funding for advertising and outreach for the upcoming open enrollment period. Additionally, funding for the in person enrollment assistors, known as navigators, will be cut by $23 million. This announcement comes just two months before the newly shortened open enrollment begins on November 1 (ending on December 15). These cuts will weaken consumer support and education, potentially leading to fewer healthy people choosing to enroll or renew coverage on the marketplace this year.

Despite claims of support for marketplace stabilization and a supposed desire to lower premiums, these cuts reveal the true aims of the Trump administration – to sabotage the ACA for political revenge by limiting access to enrollment assistance and marketplace education.

Illinois has achieved an historic insured rate thanks to the ACA and the efforts of navigators in helping people enroll in the coverage they need. If we lose our ACA navigators, we will be in danger of reversing that trend line.

We must maintain ACA funding for advertising and in-person enrollment assistance, any cuts to these crucial consumer outreach and enrollment efforts endanger the marketplace and compromise access to high quality health care for all Illinoisans. Protect Our Care Illinois urges the all members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation and Governor Rauner to pressure the White House to reverse this decision.

Protect Our Care Illinois statement on the CBO report: The effects of terminating payments for Cost-Sharing Reductions

Yesterday’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis showed that if President Trump cancels Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSRs) on Marketplace plans, like he has been threatening to do for months, he would be directly responsible for harm to millions of Americans, including Illinois residents. The nonpartisan CBO report shows that by cutting off CSR payments, Trump would force premiums to increase by 20% next year and 25% by 2020 and increase costs to the taxpayer by nearly $200 billion over ten years.

This is sabotage, plain and simple, by the Trump administration. The CBO report also showed that the mere threat of Trump sabotage is already increasing premiums for next year. We’ve already seen the impact of this threat in Illinois: in preliminary filings, insurers on the Illinois Marketplace have assumed that CSR payments will not be made in full during 2018 and have raised proposed premiums dramatically in response.

We call on President Trump to stop playing politics with our health care and give assurances that the CSR payments will be paid this year.

We call on our Members of Congress to make a permanent, mandatory appropriation that ensures full funding of CSR payments. This is the best way to bring real stability to the marketplaces and erase uncertainty on this issue for the future.

We call on Gov. Rauner and the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) to take the steps necessary NOW to protect 2018 Marketplace consumers so they do NOT bear the weight of these capricious decisions by our President. Our recent letter to DOI outlines the four steps they could take to protect Marketplace consumers before it’s too late.

Protect Our Care Illinois statement on single payer/public option

Protect Our Care Illinois supports the availability of affordable, comprehensive and accessible health care coverage for all Illinois residents regardless of income or immigration status. We are heartened that new health coverage options, including a public option, are now being discussed by the candidates for governor. This is an important public discussion and we are interested in the proposed policies that emerge. We look forward to joining the discussion and supporting policies that will meet our mission and goals moving forward to make Illinois a healthy place to live for all of us.

Senate NO vote on ACA repeal is a relief for millions in Illinois

On behalf of the Protect Our Care Illinois Coalition, we are relieved for the millions of Americans who woke up this morning knowing that they will not lose affordable, high quality health care coverage. We sincerely thank the tens of thousands of you who worked tirelessly over the past several months to fight repeal of the Affordable Care Act. You marched, called, protested, wrote letters, tweeted, and rallied against all odds and in the face of all predictions that the bill would eventually pass. You never gave up and you inspired us all to do the same. We also thank our Democratic representatives who stood strong in the face of repeal and a small number of their Republican colleagues who did the right thing and voted against this horrible bill.

There is one thing we still we need you to do. Call Sen. Durbin and Sen. Duckworth today at (202) 224-3121 and thank them for never wavering in their support of health care.

Now, we move forward. We need our representatives and administration to stop attacking the ACA and Medicaid. We need to come together to support health care for all. We must support the ACA with promotion, smart implementation, on the ground assistance, and stabilization of our insurance markets.

In the coming days and weeks, we will advocate against cuts to Medicaid. We will advocate for the Cost Sharing Reductions to be funded permanently to provide stability to insurance and critical financial assistance to consumers. We will advocate for the Childrens Health Insurance Program to be reauthorized to continue critical health care coverage for all children. But, for today, we will celebrate an important and historic victory for millions of Americans.

POCIL statement on Gov. Rauner’s response to ACA repeal

Protect Our Care Illinois is extremely disappointed with the statement issued by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday in which he announced that he will not take a position on repealing the ACA and cutting Medicaid until “there is a final product.”

Senate Republicans have insisted on advancing the legislative process, and will vote on a package as early as Thursday, without making their final bill public. The opinions of governors, but especially Republican governors, have enormous influence over both the content of policy proposals as they are crafted, as well as the eventual votes of members of the state’s Congressional Delegation.

More so, while the final proposal has not yet been announced, a few facts have remained constant in every proposal Congress has offered:

  • At least 22 million Americans, including at least 1 million Illinoisans, will lose health insurance;
  • The Medicaid safety net would be decimated, replaced by a capped allotment, which would force the state to cut eligibility, benefits, and provider rates;
  • Federal Medicaid funding would be cut by roughly 35%, which would harm kids, people with disabilities, seniors, and low-income people; and
  • Patient protections, including the essential health benefits, lifetime caps on care, and protections against premium hikes for people with pre-existing conditions would be gutted

The people of Illinois would also like Congress to provide the details of a comprehensive health care proposal with enough time and opportunity to thoughtfully review and react, but, as Gov. Rauner knows, that is unlikely to happen. It is time for the governor to join other Republican governors in firmly opposing any plan that leaves more Illinoisans uninsured and caps or cuts Medicaid. Until he does so, the citizens of Illinois will continue to demand better.

The fight is not over, take action today! 

Durbin and DuckworthAlthough yesterday’s vote brings the Senate one step closer to their goal of repealing the ACA and gutting Medicaid, our fight is far from over. With the passage of the Motion to Proceed, the Senate is now in the midst of a mandatory twenty hours of floor debate, followed by consideration of a lengthy list of amendments. There is a lot that still needs to happen before they can take a final vote.

We haven’t lost this fight and every minute that the debate continues is a minute that we can get closer to stopping repeal of the ACA once and for all! 

While we don’t know which of the several bad options the Senate will ultimately vote on, we know one thing, people will suffer if any of their proposals succeed. We need to spend every last ounce of energy (and we know you’ve already given a lot of your energy) to make it clear that repealing the ACA and gutting Medicaid simply is not an option.

So here is what you can do NOW to save health care:

  1. Tweet at Sen. Durbin and Sen. Duckworth and thank them for continuing to stand strong for the people of Illinois. They have a long week ahead of them, too, and we need to make sure they know we have their backs.
  2. Call your U.S. Representative (1-866-877-3303) and demand that they oppose any bill which leaves more people uninsured or cuts Medicaid. If the Senate succeeds in passing a bill, it still needs to go back to the House, whether for a speedy vote or a conference committee. We need to keep the pressure up on House members while we still have time.
  3. Participate in the Indivisible phone bank to encourage voters in states with undecided senators to make calls in support of health care–all from the comfort of your own home!
  4. Join the Lives on the Line rally in Chicago on July 29! Part of a national day of action, Americans will come together across the country to say: Our lives are on the line if Republicans pass Trumpcare and strip our health coverage.
  5. Be ready to show up this week! Things are going to move very quickly from here and it seems that Mitch McConnell wants to take a final health care vote before the end of the day on Friday. Win or lose we need to be prepared to take to the streets in defense of health care. No matter what happens this week, the fight to defend health care is not over.

You have already done so much and we are in awe of what we’ve been able to accomplish. The next three days could decide the fate of health care for a generation, so let’s get out there and finish strong!

Join these emergency health care rallies all over the state @ 5 p.m.

Today, Senate Republicans will vote on a motion to proceed on a health care bill. 

With just a few hours until the vote, we still do not know exactly what they will vote on. One thing is certain—they will strip health insurance from 22 to 32 million people, destroy insurance markets, gut Medicaid, and give massive tax cuts to the wealthy. 

Protect Our Care Illinois stands with the citizens and activists across the state who refuse to accept this deadly proposal. If the motion to proceed succeeds today people will take to the streets across Illinois at 5pm to protest repealing the ACA and cutting Medicaid. The fight is not over and we will not let this go quietly. JOIN US!

If you can’t get to one of these rallies, grab a few allies, go where you can and share pictures using #ilsaveaca on Facebook and Twitter!

You can also join this Indivisible Phone Bank to call voters in crucial swing states (West Virginia-Capito & Ohio-Portman) and urge them to call on their Senators to kill the bill.