May 4, 2017 1:27 pm

ACLU of Illinois condemns vote in favor of the American Health Care Act (ACHA)

The ACLU of Illinois is a steering committee member of Protect our Care IL, a statewide coalition of health care advocates, providers, consumers, and workers, joining together to prevent the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), prevent disastrous changes to Medicaid, and protect and expand access to quality affordable health care.

Statement of Mary Dixon, ACLU of Illinois’ Health Justice Policy Director:

Mary Dixon, Health Justice Policy Director

Mary Dixon, Health Justice Policy Director

We oppose the American Health Care Act (AHCA) because it harms women, children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. The AHCA does away with health care for the almost 700,000 adults in our state who receive care through an expansion of Medicaid made available through the Affordable Care Act.

The AHCA is a return to the dark days when people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes and cancer could not afford insurance. This legislation allows insurers to charge more to people who are sick, leading to premium increases upwards of tens of thousands of dollars for coverage that is unlikely to meet their health care needs. States could get rid of the essential health benefits, which would mean a return to skimpy plans without coverage for maternity care, substance use disorders, or mental health services. For women, this means they must pay more for coverage that actually meets their health care needs. Even worse, the bill cuts billions to Medicaid, jeopardizing care for millions of low-income seniors, people living with disabilities, children, and low-income parents. An amendment offering 8 billion in federal funding, far less than what is needed, offers the illusion of support to people with pre-existing conditions by funding high-risk pools, which have already failed in Illinois and simply don’t work. People with pre-existing conditions will have to get special insurance that costs more and covers less.

This bill still strips coverage for more than 24 million people nationwide by 2026, including 14 million by next year. The gains of the Affordable Care Act are significant and are vital to people in our state. We will not go back. The ACLU of Illinois will continue to fight to ensure that people in Illinois are protected.

Learn more: visit the Protect our Care IL website.