Updates on health care reform in Illinois

June 2017

You've probably seen those words - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet... They come from an essay by Cicero. "No one loves pain itself, seeks after it and wants to have it," he wrote. In this same spirit, I asked the crowd at our rally last week, " Did you go to your legislator and ask them to cut Medicaid spending?" "No!" they shouted. OK, then: We must keep breathing, and keep shouting.

 Don't Cap Our Care!
HDA's John Jansa at #DontCapOurCare
HDA was one of dozens of organizations to turn out for the "Don't Cap Our Care" rally Tuesday morning, June 6, at the Thompson Center in Chicago.

Illinois ranks first in the nation in the number of people served by home and community based services: more than 57,000 receive vital care outside of institution. 

And that is just one of the programs threatened by the $839 billion in cuts to Medicaid proposed by the American Health Care Act. At least $40 billion in cuts over the next 10 years is projected for Illinois - a state that already has over $3 billion in unpaid Medicaid bills! Read more at Protect Our Care IL.

Chicago was one of a number of cities across the country where advocates came together to support Medicaid against the threats posed the AHCA.

 Watching the Senate
Despite earlier claims that the Senate was going to take their time before any legislation gets written, the fact is that they cannot wait much longer before they have to move onto other issues. The consensus is now that bill will be written and brought to the CBO for scoring - essentially in secret - and will only be brought to the floor when it's time to vote.

What will this bill going to look like? There's much speculation but little substance - yet enough has been discussed and presented to paint a troubling picture..

Per-capita caps. One thing that has powered through the legislative fray is the goal to transform Medicaid funding into a per-capita system. This would be devastating, cutting billions from Medicaid budgets and forcing states into impossible decisions on who and how much to cut, and how much less providers would get paid. The Trump budget touted caps as a way to save billions - a clear sign that it's an essential element of the legislative agenda  It's the one piece of the puzzle that everyone in the GOP agrees on. 

Medicaid expansion. One of the biggest sticking points is how quickly should the Medicaid expansion end? Many Senators want a slower ramp-down than the House timeframe of no new enrolless by 2020. But ending expansion is where most of the touted Medicaid savings comes, so there's a real conflict between the conservative factions and expansion-state senators who don't want that money going away.

State waivers.The House bill would have let states use waivers to circumvent two major elements of the ACA, like essential health benefits and coverage for pre-existing conditions. Seeing what happened at town halls, senators realized pre-existing waivers are a hot potato, and appear to have backed away from removing them.

But the Senate has a heavy lift. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell himself expressed doubt about being able to gather 50 votes for the plan. With 52 Senate seats controlled by the GOP, it would only take 3 defections to defeat the bill.

House Republican health bill would effectively end ACA Medicaid expansion
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

 From Our Social Media

On Facebook
Senator Tammy Duckworth, Senator Dick Durbin, and every Illinois House Democrat sent this letter to Governor Bruce Rauner asking him to forcefully denounce the AHCA and respond to a series of questions on how the AHCA would negatively impact Illinois.

On Twitter
Thank you   @RepGuzzardi39 for standing up for us to   #SaveMedicaid . We appreciate you!

On Twitter
RT @HDAdvocates "Trumpcare can raise taxes for 7 million veterans...causing veterans to spend thousands dollars more every year"

We will continue to work together, and to keep you informed.

John Jansa
Health & Disability Advocates

Please forward this newsletter to friends or colleagues who are interested in how the ACA and other developments are impacting health care in Illinois with. If you have questions or suggestions, email us at info@illinoishealthmatters.org .
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