Right now, Congress is weighing the merits of the “American Health Care Act” – the ACA repeal-and-replace bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimates 24 million would lose coverage. These are regular, middle-class people who would be left behind: older adults, people with disabilities, people with complex health needs. People like you and your neighbors. Read our statement
As you know, the Affordable Care Act is critically threatened. And these threats extend beyond the confines of the ACA to include attacks on Medicaid the overall federal-state healthcare system. Anticipated changes will dramatically affect people’s lives and shift the entire health care landscape.
That’s why we are creating this series of one-pagers, to show in clear and simple ways how the protections of the ACA affect everyday people’s lives in substantial ways.
Every time Joe needs routine health care unrelated to his spinal cord injury (SCI), he ends up providing the doctors with a laundry list of things they should be asking him, but don’t. Even though he is in his 30s, Joe doesn’t have a primary care physician. He can’t find one with an accessible office for routine exams; he gets his routine care from the specialist who he’s been seeing for his SCI. He’s starting to give up on trying to find a primary care physician because every time he educates them about how his injury affects his health, he gets a new doctor and has to start all over again. He feels it’s a waste of time and demoralizing, so he’s just stopped looking for a primary care physician.
New leadership in the White House and in Congress always means different ideas and viewpoints for how we conduct the country’s business. But an election doesn’t change the needs that regular people have. We know from experience that the challenges people face today are the very same challenges we faced yesterday, and won’t change because of an election.
A new administration means changes, and we are ready to work with policymakers to mitigate the impact of change on our constituency. We will be using all of the tools at our disposal to make sure that people with complex health needs and disabilities have a voice – whatever systems of care we put in place.
On September 16, we partnered with the Institute for Therapy through the Arts to host an Experiential Learning Conference in Evanston, Illinois. The conference presented a daylong set of hands-on workshops to help participants understand why art and alternative therapies are so effective for people who experienced trauma.
There were about 50 attendees including ITA staff. They included social workers, counselors, and alternative therapy counselors. All have either worked with a client or currently work with clients experiencing some form of trauma.
Last Friday afternoon, Governor Rauner took his hatchet to two important pieces of legislation that would have insured vital social supports for some of Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens. He vetoed HB 5931, which would have guaranteed a $15/hour wage to those who care for people with developmental disabilities, and SB 730, which would have expanded child care for low-income families.
To be fair, the Governor did acknowledge the importance of these services and the sacrifices of those who provide them. But, in the end, he justified the vetoes by saying the State is broke and the bills didn’t provide a funding mechanism. In other words, no child care without a bake sale to pay for it.
The liquidation of Land of Lincoln Health is just the first of mounting hurdles for Illinois consumers and small-business owners shopping for health insurance coverage in the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
Not only do Illinois consumers wait longer than others across the country to see annual rate increases, but they also have fewer resources to help navigate the marketplace. The state’s budget morass means the two state agencies charged with protecting consumer interests and helping consumers connect with coverage options—the Department of Insurance and Get Covered Illinois—are underfunded and ill-prepared to serve the public.
As recently as the presidential election of 2000, we learned how important a few hundred thousand votes could be. The nationwide gap between candidates totaled just 543,895 votes. According to a recent Stanford Law School study, Contemporary Voting Rights Controversies Through the Lens of Disability, the actual number of potential voters not casting their ballot due to a disability may be five times that number – over 3 million votes not cast in every election for myriad reasons, but primarily because of the lack of accommodation for a disability.
“If you wanted to go anywhere you had to plan ahead, even if it was just to the drugstore. Participating in society – going to a theatre, a restaurant – everything was hit or miss.”
That’s Carol Gill, remembering life before the Americans with Disabilities Act, which turned 25 years old this month.
“You went into a store,” she recalls, “and the aisles were too narrow. And people would give you a ‘dull look’ when you’d point out the aisles were not accessible.”
Illinois just dodged a bullet with the outcome of King v. Burwell. If the Supreme Court had ruled against subsidies being challenged in the case, working people and families in the state collectively would have lost more than $49 million a month to help purchase health insurance.
In its decision, the court affirmed the legality of the provision of premium tax credits under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in all states, whether they established their own health insurance marketplace or used the federal marketplace. Continue reading “Illinois Dodges Disaster on Supreme Court’s Obamacare Ruling”