All posts in ACA

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.

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!

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!

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.

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!