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.

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!

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.

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!

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.