CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)—October 21, 2017
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) this week released a new report which details the Trump Administration’s deliberate, year-long efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the impact of this sabotage on patients and families in Illinois. “1,000 Cuts: A Report on the Trump Administration’s Health Care Sabotage” highlights the steps President Trump has taken since Inauguration Day to undermine and create uncertainty in our health care system, including last week’s executive order and the termination of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments. Sen. Durbin also highlighted resources included in the report to assist Illinois consumers signing up for health care for next year.
“Make no mistake—while spending nine months repeatedly trying and failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Trump was simultaneously sabotaging America’s health care system in order to hurt working families. His tactics are well documented: President Trump issued an Executive Order instructing federal agencies not to enforce the law, cut the open enrollment period in half, cancelled television and radio ads that educated people about how to enroll for insurance, slashed funding for patient navigators and outreach efforts, and terminated the cost-sharing reduction subsidies that help keep health care costs lower for working families, including nearly 200,000 people in Illinois. This act alone will increase premiums 20 percent next year” Durbin said. “Instead of joining in a bipartisan effort to strengthen our current health care system and help Illinois families, President Trump has used every tool at his disposal to raise costs and set up roadblocks between American families and their health care, all to prove some political point.”
From his first day in office, Trump has orchestrated a deliberate campaign to sabotage the ACA. This effort has occurred in tandem with repeated efforts by congressional Republicans to repeal the ACA, the threat of which has created instability in the individual market where approximately 12 million Americans—including 350,000 Illinoisans—purchase their insurance.
The most recent sabotage actions include last week’s executive order which promotes “bare-bones” plans, that lack coverage of important essential health benefits – such as mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, and maternity/newborn care – and the termination of CSR payments, which help working class families afford health insurance in the individual market. Without the CSR payments, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that one million people will lose insurance, insurers will flee the individual market, and premiums will increase 20 percent next year alone.
Despite the President’s ongoing efforts to destroy our health care system, open enrollment for 2018 begins on November 1 and lasts until December 15. Illinoisans in need of individual market plans for next year should plan accordingly. The final page of Durbin’s report includes resources for the open enrollment process.
More than 20 million uninsured Americans have gained health coverage under the ACA – including one million in Illinois – bringing our nation’s uninsured rate below 10 percent for the first time in history. Thanks to the ACA, insurers can no longer deny coverage due to a pre-existing condition, discriminate based on gender or health status, or impose annual or lifetime caps on benefits. Insurers must now cover important health care: maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and hospitalizations. The ACA also expanded Medicaid to cover millions of newly eligible Americans—650,000 in Illinois—and provided enhanced federal funds to help pay for the expansion population.