Durbin Hears from Southern Illinois Healthcare Leaders on Local Impact of Repealing Affordable Care Act
CARBONDALE – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Southern Illinois healthcare leaders regarding the local impact of congressional Republicans’ plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Last 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 his first day in office, President Trump signed an executive order giving federal agencies broad authority to undo regulations created by the ACA.
“When congress passed the ACA in 2010, health care costs were skyrocketing and it was common practice for health insurance companies to employ discriminatory and unfair practices, including imposing arbitrary lifetime or annual caps on benefits, charging women more than men for the same coverage, or flat out refusal to insure people with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or asthma. The law addressed some of the most glaring gaps in America’s health care system. Yet instead of working with Democrats to improve the ACA, Republicans have insisted on fully repealing the law despite the fact that they have no 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. “I will fight to protect the gains we have made under the ACA, and continue to support patients in need and the providers 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 month, every House Republican in Illinois voted in favor of repealing the law.
Repealing health care without a replacement would mean 1.2 million people in Illinois would lose health insurance, including 650,000 newly eligible/enrolled in Medicaid. 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. Illinois community health centers would see a 54% increase in uninsured patients, lose $83 million in patient revenue, and need to lay off 10% of their staff and possibly close sites.
In Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, the Illinois Hospital Association estimates $201 million in lost spending for coverage of the Medicaid ACA population, $46 million in lost spending for coverage of Marketplace ACA population, and $594 million in lost economic impact with indirect ripple effect. All told, IHA estimates that the 12th Congressional District would lose 4,300 jobs if congressional Republicans are successful at repealing the ACA without enacting a replacement plan. In the 15th District, IHA estimates that $470 million in economic impact and 3,400 would be lost.
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. Repealing the ACA will threaten health care for all Americans, drive up costs, and let insurance companies place arbitrary limits on benefits and deny coverage for pre-existing conditions or gender.
In January 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 after a repeal of the ACA. 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 ACA repeal would cause uncompensated care costs to skyrocket by $1.1 trillion over 2019-2028, significantly burdening local and state budgets, as well as health care providers.
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