Durbin: Repealing Affordable Care Act Would Disrupt Lives of Millions

Durbin and Health Care Experts Discuss the Illinois Impact of Republican Plan to Repeal Affordable Care Act

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with doctors and health care experts to discuss the local impact of congressional Republicans plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – without replacing the law – in early January. 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. More than one million people in Illinois would lose their health insurance in 2019 if the ACA is repealed, including 470,000 newly eligible or enrolled in Medicaid.

“When congress passed the ACA in 2010, health care costs were skyrocketing and health insurance companies were not being held accountable for their unfair practices. The law addressed some of the most glaring gaps in America’s health care system and now, thanks to the ACA, the uninsured rate in Illinois has fallen by 49 percent,” Durbin said. “ACA is not perfect – no law is. But instead of working together on improvements, Republicans have instead voted over 60 times to outright repeal the law – without offering any ideas for how to replace it. Repealing our law – throwing our health care system, providers, and patients into chaos – is dangerous and will immediately disrupt the lives of millions. I will fight in Washington to protect the gains we have made under the ACA, and continue to support patients in need and the programs that serve them.”


Republican leaders in Congress plan to move quickly next year to repeal the ACA without enacting a replacement plan to prevent a disruption of the U.S. healthcare system or to protect the millions of Americans who depend upon the law for their medical care. This approach could result in nearly 30 million Americans losing their health insurance, doubling the number of uninsured (from 29 million to 59 million) to a level even higher than before the law was passed.

This week, Durbin is sending letters to seven Illinois provider and patient associations, asking them to measure the impact that repealing the ACA without any replacement would have on hospitals and patients in Illinois.


What the ACA Has Meant in Illinois: 

  • The uninsured rate in Illinois has fallen by 49% since the law’s enactment—850,000 previously uninsured Illinoisans now have health insurance.
  • More than five million Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage or charged higher premiums.
  • More than four million Illinoisans with employer-sponsored insurance no longer have annual or lifetime caps on their benefits.
  • 197,000 Illinois seniors on Medicare saved $205 million on drugs in 2015, an average saving of $1,041 per beneficiary.


  • More than 90,000 young adults in Illinois have benefitted from being able to stay on their parents’ health plan up to age 26.


According to research by the Urban Institute, repealing without replacing the ACA would result in 1.2 million people in Illinois losing their health insurance in 2019. Illinois would lose $1.1 billion in federal marketplace spending in 2019 and $12.5 billion between 2019 and 2028. The state would lose an additional $3.1 billion in federal Medicaid funding in 2019 and $37.4 B between 2019 and 2028.


What the ACA Has Meant Nationwide:


  • 20 million people have gained health insurance. In 2015, the uninsured rate fell below 10% for the first time in our nation’s history.


  • There are no longer pre-existing condition denials or annual/lifetime caps on benefits. Young people up to age 26 can stay on their parent’s health plans. Insurance companies must cover important preventive care for free.


  • Premiums for employer coverage and Medicare spending have grown more slowly since ACA was enacted. For employer premiums, the past five years included four of the five slowest-growth years on record. Medicare spending was $473 B less than projected from 2009-2014 compared with pre-ACA cost growth trends.


Nationwide, repealing ACA without an adequate replacement plan could result in nearly 30 million Americans losing their health insurance, doubling the number of uninsured. This increase would cause demands for uncompensated care to skyrocket by $1.1 trillion over 2019-2028, placing heavy new burdens on state and local governments and health care providers.