Durbin Hears from Hospital Leaders on Local Impact of Republican Plan to Repeal Affordable Care Act

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with hospital CEOs—including four from federally-designated Critical Access Hospitals – to discuss the local impact of congressional Republicans’ plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This month, Republican leaders took the first step in repealing the law by approving a budget that allows for major provisions of the ACA to be eliminated by simple majority vote. On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order giving federal agencies broad authority to undo regulations created by the ACA.

“Congressional Republicans are insisting on fully repealing the Affordable Care Act, without developing or enacting a replacement plan. In Illinois and nationwide, this strategy threatens to disrupt our entire healthcare system – subjecting patients, providers, hospitals, and insurers to chaos,” Durbin said. “We have more than 50 Critical Access Hospitals in Illinois that are heavily dependent on the Medicaid program and face the loss of billions in federal funding if Republicans are successful at repealing our health care system. I will continue fighting to protect the gains we have made under the ACA, and continue to support patients in need and the providers – like the Critical Access Hospital leaders that joined me today – that serve them.”


Congressional Republicans have said they will repeal and dismantle the Affordable Care Act through a procedural move called “reconciliation.” In the Senate, this allows Republicans to repeal the law with a simple majority vote, versus the normal 60 vote margin usually necessary to pass legislation. Last week, every House Republican in Illinois voted in favor of repealing the law without a replacement.

The Illinois Hospital Association estimates that repealing the ACA would result in losses of $11.6 to $13.1 billion in annual economic activity and 84,000 to 95,000 job losses throughout the state.

Today Durbin met with CEOs from the following Critical Access Hospitals: Carlinville Area Hospital, Pana Community Hospital, Hopedale Medical Center and Warner Hospital and Health Services in Clinton.  He was also joined by the CEOs of Memorial Medical Center and SIU Medicine. According to the Illinois Hospital Association, the areas served by these hospitals would lose an estimated $900 million in annual economic activity and more than 6,500 jobs if the ACA is repealed.


Because of the ACA, the uninsured rate in Illinois has fallen by 49 percent since the law’s enactment in 2010, meaning more than one million previously uninsured Illinoisans now have health insurance. Today, more than four million Illinoisans with employer-sponsored insurance no longer have annual or lifetime caps on their benefits, and more than 90,000 young adults in Illinois have benefitted from being able to stay on their parents’ health plan up to age 26.

Repealing without replacing the ACA would mean 1.2 million people in Illinois would lose health insurance, including 650,000 newly eligible/enrolled in Medicaid. Critical Access Hospitals are heavily dependent on the Medicaid program, and repealing health care would mean the loss of $37.4 billion in federal Medicaid spending for Illinois between 2019 and 2028. Nationally, more than 20 million people have gained health insurance because of the ACA.  In 2015, the uninsured rate fell below 10 percent for the first time in our nation’s history.

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report estimating that individual market premiums would increase by 20-25 percent in the first new plan year. This increase would reach about 50 percent after the Medicaid expansion and subsidies are eliminated. Individual market premiums would about double by 2026. The report also found that the number of people who are uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first new plan year following repeal. That number would increase to 32 million by 2026. In addition, the Urban Institute found that the doubling number of uninsured would cause uncompensated care costs to skyrocket by $1.1 trillion over 2019-2028.