The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) strongly condemns House Republicans’ repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has provided access to comprehensive healthcare coverage to nearly 24 million Americans and over 1.2 million Illinoisans. The ACA dramatically increased health insurance coverage for people living with HIV in Illinois. If enacted by the Senate and signed into law by the President, over 12,000 people with HIV in Illinois will lose health coverage. The American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would give states the option to waive rules surrounding essential health benefits and age bans, would be fundamentally harmful to vulnerable Americans including those living with chronic illnesses, young people and older adults.
Click here for a gallery of images calling out Illinois House Republicans and their votes against health care access for all.
Recent amendments to the bill unfortunately weaken discrimination protections for people with pre-existing conditions, like people living with HIV, thus making a bad bill even more awful and morally insensitive. With the AHCA’s $880 billion cut to Medicaid and weakened protections it destabilizes our healthcare delivery system and returns us to a time when healthcare coverage was out of reach for too many people living with and vulnerable to HIV. “The AIDS Foundation of Chicago knows exactly who will be devastated if the AHCA moves forward – the most vulnerable among us,” said John Peller, president and CEO of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. “This proposed repeal would hurt the sick, the old and the poor. The out-of-pocket costs for individuals would be higher, while coverage and protections would be lower. How long will it be before we, as a country, can agree that access to healthcare is a fundamental right for all?”
After the initial failure of the AHCA, House Republicans under pressure from the Trump Administration and House leadership led enough members of Congress to pass the revised bill by promising an additional $8 billion toward coverage for pre-existing conditions. This amount is still painfully modest, and millions with pre-existing conditions would lose their health insurance indefinitely, according to independent analysts. Illinois has experienced high-risk pools in the past under its Comprehensive Insurance Plan (ICHIP). IHCIP didn’t work due to unsustainable costs and restricted availability for Illinois consumers, many of them people living with HIV. America cannot go back to a system were vulnerable patients were forced to gamble on high-risk pools. Repealing the ACA would jeopardize the health and wellbeing of millions of consumers and the protections the ACA affords them, including:
The fight continues and AFC, along with thousands of our advocates and nationwide partners, will now focus our attention to the Senate to prevent this bill from moving forward. While the ramifications of the AHCA will not be immediately felt by the millions of Americans benefiting from the ACA, we cannot let access to healthcare be stopped now or ever. AFC urges Illinoisans and Americans alike to call their Congressional leaders and demand that any revision to healthcare not be detrimental to the health and wellness of all Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions.