Metro-East News

Democratic congressional members press Rauner for comments on AHCA

Every Democratic member of the Illinois congressional delegation, including Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, have called on Gov. Bruce Rauner to weigh-in on the ongoing efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In a letter signed by Duckworth, Durbin and the 11 Democratic representatives, they asked Rauner how the GOP-proposed American Health Care Act would affect Illinois families, schools and students, health care providers and the state’s economy, according to a news release.

“There is no question that the AHCA would be incredibly damaging to the state of Illinois,” the federal legislators wrote. “According to the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA), which opposes the bill, Illinois would lose $40 billion in federal Medicaid funding over the next ten years.”

Rauner’s office said the governor is concerned about the possible changes to Medicaid.

“The governor has made clear that he has serious concerns about the potential impact any changes will have on Medicaid beneficiaries as well as on those in our exchange who are facing higher premiums and fewer choice,” said Eleni Demertzis, a spokeswoman for the governor. “We will continue to stay closely engaged on the issue, particularly as new Senate legislation is developing.”

The letter includes eight questions for Rauner to answer, including whether Illinois — which has had ongoing budget struggles — would be able to cover increased Medicaid costs if the AHCA becomes law.

“Despite clear evidence that the AHCA would be devastating to Illinois, you have yet to forcibly denounce this legislation, answer questions regarding how it would impact Illinois at the state level, or provide recommendations on policies you either support or oppose to improve care for residents of our state. That is in clear contrast to other Republican governors, especially from Medicaid expansion states, who have publicly and forcefully stated their opposition to the AHCA and offered ideas and recommendations on how to move forward,” wrote the members.

The Democratic members of the delegation have sent three previous letters to Rauner about the AHCA, but have received no response.

“We hope that, this time, you will acknowledge our letter and provide detailed answers to our questions. Time is of the essence, as Senate Republicans are currently working behind closed doors to advance repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” the legislators wrote.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter