This is the email I sent our IL Senators today. I will post their response when I receive them.
Dear Senator Duckworth,
Why haven’t you, or Senator Durbin, or any other Democratic Senator, publicly offered solutions to the ACA in light of the horrendous Republican tax reform bill, AHCA, (which is not a health care proposal, it is tax reform)? This is the opportunity for the Democrats to be leaders, counteract the Republicans shill game of the AHCA and really work to fix what was wrong with the ACA. I want to know why there are not any Democratic solutions on the table in the public sphere. I don’t care that we don’t have the votes. I want to see leadership and solutions, not finger pointing and a deepening of the divide. This country needs to unite, needs one set of facts and needs compromise over ideology.
Please send me your response. I’m posting my email request to our local political organization’s website and will post your response.
Thank you very much,
HERE IS DUCKWORTH’S RESPONSE I RECEIVED TWO DAYS LATER:
Thank you for contacting me to share your views about the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). I appreciate you taking the time to make me aware of your concerns on this important matter.
The BCRA is the Senate version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Similar to the House bill, it gives massive tax cuts to the wealthy while forcing millions of working Americans to pay more for less care. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 22 million more Americans will be uninsured by 2026 if this bill is passed and signed into law. According to the CBO, the BCRA would result in 4 million Americans losing employer-sponsored insurance in 2018 alone. In addition, under the BCRA, Illinois hospitals would see uncompensated care costs rise by nearly $400 million next year, and our State would experience the fifth highest increase in the number of uninsured in 2018.
The BCRA makes the AHCA worse, not better. I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans have joined House Republicans in threatening the care of millions of hard working Americans around the country, including the nearly 1 in 10 Veterans who obtain health care through our Nation’s largest health insurance program, Medicaid. This legislation would end Medicaid as we know it. It weakens the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) by cutting that law’s Medicaid enhancement, which would threaten the insurance of 650,000 Illinoisans who gained coverage under the ACA. Even worse, the BCRA would go far beyond repealing the ACA Medicaid expansion and cut Medicaid by hundreds of billions of dollars – directly violating President Donald Trump’s promise to protect Medicaid, not cut it.
The BCRA retains the ACA’s advanced premium tax credit, but makes them significantly less helpful and cuts off more working families from accessing them. The CBO estimates that the BCRA would be particularly painful for older working Americans between 50 and 64 years old. For instance, under the ACA, a 64 year old single individual with an annual income of $56,800 currently pays an annual premium of approximately $6,800 for a silver plan. Under the BCRA, this individual’s premium would rise to $20,500. Worse, as costs rise, the quality of insurance would fall because the BCRA allows states to waive coverage of essential health benefits, such as mental health services, maternity care, emergency services and hospital stays.
Simply put, the BCRA, just like the AHCA, would force too many Americans to pay more for less coverage. Outside of the 400 wealthiest families in America who would receive tax cuts totaling $33 billion, it is difficult to identify individuals from any walk of life who would do better under the Senate or House versions of Trumpcare.
The ACA is not perfect. However, rather than repealing it and replacing it with a far worse proposal, Congress should work together to improve the ACA. We should preserve the law’s successful protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and keep the ACA’s ban on abusive insurance practices, such as punitive lifetime limits, higher costs for women and discriminatory medical underwriting that punishes individuals for getting sick. In addition, adjusting the ACA’s advanced premium tax credits to cover more hard-working Americans would significantly improve affordability for families with modest incomes. States can also follow the lead of Illinois and the 31 other States that have expanded Medicaid to help more low-income Americans access care.
I am deeply disappointed that President Donald Trump broke his promise to protect Medicaid and joined Senate Republicans in pushing an extremely partisan proposal. I am also deeply frustrated that Senate Republicans would not consider the BCRA in an open and transparent manner. The majority’s refusal to hold a single public hearing while drafting the bill is indefensible and I am committed to doing everything in my power to hold a full debate and transparent amendment process. This includes urging the CBO to estimate the impact of the BCRA beyond 10 years, since my constituents will be forced to live with Trumpcare beyond 2026. You can read my letter online here.
As your Senator, I am committed to working to achieve high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. I cannot support a proposal like the BCRA, which would eliminate critical patient protections, unfairly increase costs on working class Americans and give generous tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. I will fight on behalf of all Illinoisans to defeat the proposal that President Trump and Senate Republicans proposed, and I stand ready to work with any Member of Congress who is willing to develop and advance proposals that protect patients from abusive practices, lowers health care costs and guarantees that our nation’s dedicated Veterans receive the high quality care they deserve.
Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue. If you would like more information on my work in the Senate, please visit my website at www.duckworth.senate.gov. You can access my voting record and see what I am doing to address today’s most important issues. I hope that you will continue to share your views and opinions with me and let me know whenever I may be of assistance to you.