On Wednesday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle made crystal clear the damage that repealing the Affordable Care Act would cause residents. Should Obamacare be removed, it is anticipated that over three hundred thousand Cook County residents would lose their insurance.
In the lead up to the election on November 3rd, healthcare has been a hot debate topic. President Trump claims that his administration has a ‘better plan’, but has remained tight-lipped on the details. Republicans have been seeking ways to tear up the ACA; now it appears they are in a position to do so.
Furtive Move to Repeal Obamacare
This is not the first time Democrats have spoken out about the impact repealing the bill will have on Cook County residents. Now is a worrying time for the Dems because of Amy Coney Barrett’s arrival to the Supreme Court.
In 2018, the GOP sued the federal government, as part of their effort to remove Obamacare. This case will now be heard in court and judgment made on whether or not the law is constitutional. Given the recent confirmation of Trump’s nominee, things could very quickly go against the ACA.
In speaking on the possibility of the ACA repeal, Preckwinkle said;
“A repeal of the ACA would not only financially cripple Cook County Health by dramatically increasing the amount of uncompensated health care we already provide, it would be catastrophic to the patients we serve,”
We covered exactly why this act boosts the health industry; to see it taken away would be a hugely damaging decision for many citizens.
Issues For Cook County Residents
It is estimated that around 308,000 Cook County residents would lose health insurance if we see a repeal. This number is a combination of the 94,000 enrolled in CountyCare and just under 214,000 on Medicaid plans.
Among those most concerned for Cook County residents is the interim Cook County Health CEO Debra Carey, who said;
“The potential for a repeal of the ACA will be devastating to the patients we care for and will put the fundamental mission of this organization in jeopardy. To those elected officials and others who would allow the repeal of the Affordable Care Act: You are choosing politics over primary care, rhetoric over responsibility, and heartlessness over humanity.”
Heartless Nature of the Timing
Many, on both sides of the aisle, certainly agree that the timing couldn’t be worse. Following an unprecedented pandemic that has devastated the nation, claiming lives, jobs, and properties, now is not the time to take away healthcare options.
Healthcare costs have always been an issue, as we reported last year, and this could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for many Americans.
Many have been reminded of the clear difference between those at the bottom and those at the top. Following President Trump’s COVID diagnosis, many pointed out that he received the finest care, something which not everyone can expect. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg, for example, was outspoken about this gap in care.
“I understand that he is receiving world-class care as we speak. That’s a good thing. But the American people deserve no less. The people of Cook County deserve no less. And advocating for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act at the same time that you yourself have COVID and there’s a global health pandemic is just plain wrong.”
Wider Impacts of Potential Ruling
Rescinding this legislation will not only negatively affect the lives of Cook County residents, but the pain will also be felt across the nation. It is anticipated that if conservatives decide as a majority block against the ACA in the Texas v California case, around 20 million people will lose their insurance.
Furthermore, a potential 128 million could lose their protection if the case is even partially struck down, based on their pre-existing conditions.
Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association believes that invalidating the law would “throw the nation into economic chaos, in addition to people not having health insurance”.
As to what will happen with the insurance for Cook County residents and their fellow Americans, we will know more when the case which will be heard on November 10th is heard.