Updates on health care reform in Illinois

February 2017

What is happening?
  • In February, we need some federal health care updates. 
  • The ACA hasn't been repealed, but the wheels are turning.
  • The news cycle is spinning out of control. 
We're going to do our best to keep you up to date as events unfold. 
 A Rundown on ACA Repeal Efforts 
More about the budget reconciliation.

Republican congressional leadership and the Trump Administration have promised to repeal the ACA. But without a true replacement, repeal will mean big problems for people in Illinois, no matter where you get your health insurance. 

Here's what has happened so far:
1. A budget resolution was passed calling for repeal of the ACA through a process called budget reconciliation. It instructs congressional committees to come up with a plan to find savings. This process cannot repeal the entire law, but address only parts of it that involve the federal budget. Here's Vox's explanation.

2. The congressional committees were supposed to come up with a repeal plan by January 26th, an impossible deadline that wasn't reached. The committees involved: Health, Education & Labor and Pensions/Finance in the Senate and Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce in the House.

3. President Trump issued an executive order on Inauguration Day instructing the Secretary of Health and Human Services and other federal officials to "waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay" implementation of the law "to the maximum extent permitted by law. The long and short of this is that this executive order is unlikely to do anything to the ACA, other than underscore the president's interest in repeal. 

4. Several health care bills were introduced by the GOP, none guaranteeing the type of protections seen under the ACA. Learn more about the Patient Freedom Act, and Rand Paul's Obamacare replacement. The GOP has no consensus on a plan moving forward, as evidenced through leaked audio of GOP discussions. 

5. The Trump Administration cancelled advertising for the last remaining days of open enrollment for the health insurance marketplace even though the advertising was already purchased. This attempt to undermine enrollment to fit with the narrative to support repeal backfired as the press widely covered the cancellation, and advocacy groups and coalitions doubled down on outreach efforts. Here's the ad that was taken off the air. 

 Illinois Takes Action 

1. Protect Our Care Illinois 
The coalition brings together groups of advocates and providers to advocate for gains made through health reform. It's the Illinois branch of the national Protect Our Care coalition

Organizations can join here: 
Individuals can sign up here:   
2.  Meet with your  congressperson
As members of Congress make decisions regarding the future of health care, make sure they understand what the impacts of those decisions will mean. Find your members of Congress   or check out this list of town halls .

3. Use and share our ACA one-pagers
The ACA has far-reaching impact across the state. Check out HDA's new series of policy briefs  showing true subsidy savings created by the ACA on health care plans available on the health insurance marketplace. Use them, link them, share them with your legislators at your meetings. 

4. Demand an Illinois budget now
Despite efforts by advocacy groups across the state, there is still no budget. The major question: Will this month be the month Illinois can pass a budget? We hope so. See the Responsible Budget Coalition's  action alert .

 Illinois Voices of the ACA

children on elbows
Share your story.
Here are some stories that explain how individuals and families have benefited from the ACA. Share any stories you can collect with the Illinois Coalition for Health Access at http://www.ilcha.org/share.

Tibbs Family of Toledo, IL
Ransom Tibbs, now 6, was born with Fragile X Syndrome, a mutation on the X chromosome that keeps the body from producing a brain protein that is crucial in development, particularly for boys. As a result, the Tibbses took Ransom to early intervention speech and development therapy when he was 18 months old. When he was 3, he began in the pre-school program at Cumberland Grade School. To this day, Ransom's parents take him to private sessions for occupational, speech and play therapy. Christa Tibbs believes ACA reforms have helped the family tremendously." Read more at Effingham Daily News

Marcin Family of Peoria, IL Amber Pawula-Marcin says her 6-year-old son carries a rare trait that is considered a pre-existing condition and she worries he would not be guaranteed coverage without the mandates and legislation included in the Affordable Care Act.  "He's already been kind of expensive medically for us, since he was born," said Pawula-Marcin. "And so you know I have concerns about what coverage is going to look like for him for his entire life." Read more at Central Illinois Proud

Robert A. Rodgers of Greenville, IL   "Obamacare was meant to provide insurance to the people who couldn't afford paying all the premiums, by helping them to pay for at least some of them. I am one of the millions of working poor in the nation. I can't afford health insurance or to pay for health care myself" Read more at the

Success Stories from Get Covered Illinois   Bar managers, comedians, research editors, small business owners, and others find support through the ACA.  Read the stories   here .

A Mom-owned Business Sees Real Savings  This small business in Chicago had $12,000 in ACA tax credits. More from Moms Rising
 Medicaid Matters

Updates Pending for Illinois 1915c Waiver
The Supportive Living Waiver renewal draft is available for public comment.

Trump's Medicaid Fix: Illinois Can't Handle It
"The justifications for block granting Medicaid fall apart upon even superficial analysis. Flexibility for states already exists and any short-term savings to the federal government just masks the true costs to state budgets as well as the greatest cost of all - the cost we will all bear when health care access to so many Illinoisans is taken away," Jennifer Koehler writes an opinion piece in Crain's Chicago Business.

Decatur Hospitals End Contracts with Molina Medicaid
Decatur Memorial Hospital patients will have no Medicaid Managed Care provider starting March 23. Read more at Herald & Review
 Illinois Activates

Illinois "Save Our Healthcare" Rally Attracts Overflow Crowd
Attendees were too many to fit inside of SEIU, so many rallied behind the building, where speakers could be heard on a jumbotron. Read more at Huffington Post.

Rauner Speaks up for Citizens, Notes Concern for Medicaid Enrolled 
"Our total Medicaid population now stands at 3.2 million - almost one quarter of the state's population," the letter states. "We have significant concerns about the welfare of these individuals, as well as our ability to run a sustainable program, and urge you to carefully consider the ramifications of proposed changes." Read more at Crain's Chicago Business.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement saying Trump's executive order had "tarnished America's standing as a beacon of hope for the free world," and calling for the release of green card holders who were detained." Read more at DNA Info
 From Our Social Media

Is there something you want to see in next month's newsletter or featured on our social media? Reply to this email to share with us. 

On Twitter
Chicago, we're here. The #SaveMyCare bus is parked at Federal Plaza. Make your voice heard for health care.

On Twitter
Save up to $14k a year with #Illinois  #ABLE . Open an account at http://IllinoisABLE.com  #inclusionworks  #twill

On Facebook
With Congress taking steps to strip access to health care from 30 million Americans, it's never been more critical to fight back. That's why the  Save My Care bus is on the road to hear from doctors, nurses, and people like you from all over the country on what access to health care means to all of us.  Learn more and join the fight:   SaveMyCare.org/bustour

Emily Gelber-Maturo
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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