May 25, 2017

Chicago Health Department and 13 Others Bolster Senators’ Fight Against New Health Care Bill

Commissioner Morita Available for Media Interviews to Discuss Impact of AHCA on Chicago

Anel Ruiz, Department of Public Health    312-747-9698, Anel.ruiz@cityofchicago.org

In a letter released this morning, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and 13 other public health departments across Illinois have urged Illinois Senators Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth to vote against the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and encourage their fellow senators to do the same.

"Our countries and cities cannot afford the AHCA," reads the statement, co-signed by CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D., and other public health administrators from suburban Lake County to southeastern Wabash County far downstate and in between.  "By eliminating the positive benefits of the Affordable Care Act, our communities will regress to a 'sick-care' system that focuses on treating disability and disease rather than preventing it."

Illinois health departments recognize the great benefits the the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has brought to people across the state; Medicaid expansion made available under the ACA granted more than 650,000 low-income Illinois residents life-saving health insurance in 2017.  In total, approximately 1.2 million Illinoisans would lose health insurance coverage under current versions of the AHCA.  The letter outlines other dangerous changes that the AHCA would bring to Illinoisans, including:

  • Elimination of the 90% federal match for Medicaid-eligible Illinoisans
  • Heavily restricted Medicaid qualifications, resulting in the loss of insurance for many across the state departments
  • Elimination of the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), a $93 million annual program that suppots public health departments
  • No viable plan for covering Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions, who would no longer be protected from insurance discrimination under the AHCA

This statement by Illinois-wide public health departments comes on the heels of the Congressional Budget Office's evaluation of the cost of the AHCA yesterday, which indicates that the AHCA would yield poor economic outcomes for the nation on top of poor health outcomes for Americans.

Senators Durbin and Duckworth have been outspoken critics of the AHCA and strong supporters of the ACA, which has been insured an estimated 20 million Americans since 2014.  Read the full letter here.

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