WASHINGTON—(ENEWSPF)—September 19, 2017. In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) rebuked Senate Republicans for attempting to ram through the latest version of their Trumpcare health coverage repeal instead of focusing on ways to fix America’s health care system. As the month of September comes to an end, the U.S. Congress must reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health insurance coverage for more than nine million children and pregnant women nationwide, including 350,000 kids in Illinois. The Senate must also reauthorize funding for our nation’s community health centers, which helps 26 million Americans receive the critical health care services they need. If Congress does not reauthorize these vital programs by September 30, tens of millions of children, pregnant women, veterans, and people in rural communities will lose access to health care.
Instead, Senate Republicans are focused on ramming through their latest proposal to rip health care away from millions of Americans—the Cassidy-Graham proposal. This bill has received zero hearings, has not yet been analyzed by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, and is opposed by virtually all major medical and health care organizations—yet Senate Republicans are seeking to pass this repeal bill within the next two weeks.
“It’s a mistake for us to move toward Cassidy-Graham, concepts which have been roundly opposed in my state and across the nation, concepts that have failed on the floor of the Senate. Let us roll up our sleeves and do three things that do make sense. Let’s reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Let’s also reauthorize funding for community health centers. And finally, let’s turn toward a real, bipartisan effort to strengthen and improve the individual market, a measure that can emerge soon from Democratic Senator Murray and Republican Senator Alexander,” said Durbin. “The American people sent us here to solve problems, not create them. Cassidy-Graham creates problems. Let’s find solutions that solve problems.”
Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here.
The latest Senate Republican proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would end the Medicaid expansion, which has benefitted 650,000 Illinoisans, and dramatically restructure and slash the traditional Medicaid program—cutting services for low-income children, pregnant women, the disabled, the elderly, and those in rural communities. In addition, this measure would terminate the ACA’s subsidies, which help people buy health insurance, and completely undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, allowing insurers to once again charge people with pre-existing conditions more for their insurance. It would impose an age tax on older Americans by allowing those over age 50 to be charged five times more than younger patients. And it would allow health plans to refuse coverage of important health services – from mental health care to hospitalizations and prescription drugs, to substance abuse treatment and maternity care. Outside analyses have estimated this repeal bill would cause tens of millions of people to lose health insurance coverage, while cutting hundreds of billions in health care funding to states.