AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) strongly condemns the actions taken by a majority of Senate Republicans’ vote to advance a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has provided access to comprehensive health care coverage for nearly 24 million Americans. If signed into law by President Trump without a proper replacement, over 1.2 million Illinoisans would lose their health care coverage, including 12,000 Illinois residents living with HIV.
The Senate’s actions yesterday place them one step closer to passing legislation that would wreak economic and medical havoc on millions of Illinoisans. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates a newly revised ACA replacement plan unveiled yesterday by Senate Republicans. Referred to as the “skinny bill,” it would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 15 to 30 million over the next ten years. A comprehensive draft of a replacement failed to pass in the Senate Tuesday night.
“It’s time for elected officials to remove themselves from the shadow of President Trump and stand up for every individual in their respective states, especially those with preexisting conditions,” said John Peller, president and CEO of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. “Washington Republicans should not hide behind a façade of secrets and closed-door negotiations when discussing life-or-death legislation impacting millions of Americans. Tuesday’s vote corroborates that.”
In previous CBO and expert analyses of past failed Republican replacement plans, the funds promised to aid Americans living with preexisting conditions like HIV were appalling, stripping millions of individuals with pre-existing conditions of their health insurance.
The ACA dramatically increased health insurance coverage for people living with HIV in Illinois. As of 2016, at least 12,000 people living with HIV in Illinois recently gained health care coverage through the ACA, which is roughly 32 percent of people with HIV in Illinois, or 1 in 3 of the 37,788 reported Illinoisans living with HIV (IDPH, 2016).
Medicaid is an essential source of care for 55 percent of Illinoisans living with HIV (20,782 people in 2016). Repealing the ACA will result in vulnerable individuals losing or facing challenges when accessing care.
“We thank both Illinois Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) for their examples of courage and voting against yesterday’s Motion to Proceed,” said Ramon Gardenhire, vice president of policy and advocacy for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. “They continue to stand strong for people living with and vulnerable to HIV and all Illinois families.”
The fight continues and AFC, along with thousands of our allies and partners nationwide, will continue advocating for the health and welfare of all Americans. AFC urges Illinoisans and the American constituency alike to call Congressional leaders and demand that the repeal of the ACA not be carried out without a proper replacement. AFC stands ready to work with Members of Congress to develop a bipartisan plan that accounts for all the health care needs of Americans, including those living with and vulnerable to HIV.