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Cook County Officials Decry Affordable Care Act Repeal

By aaroncynic in News on Feb 21, 2017 10:24PM

Officials in Cook County say that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion could cost the health system and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, along with more than 1 million jobs statewide.

“Repealing without a reasoned and deliberate approach to fixing whatever perceived shortcomings there are in ACA would introduce chaos into our broader healthcare system,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle at a press conference outside Cook County Stroger Hospital.

Though President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans have made it their mission to repeal former President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare legislation, also nicknamed Obamacare, progress has been slow, despite assertions over Twitter by the president that it’s “moving fast!”. While the administration and lawmakers have made attempts to dismantle or at least weaken provisions, there has been scant effort to come up with a real plan to replace it. Earlier this month, the president said repealing and replacing the ACA could take until 2018.

An unclear future for the law could put hundreds of thousands of people who are insured because of it at risk. Nearly half a million people in Cook County are covered by ACA related plans.

“Do you want a return to the days where insurance companies denied coverage because of preexisting conditions?” Preckwinkle asked. “Should we force people who need care back into emergency rooms to meet their healthcare needs?”

While Trump and others who support the repeal have frequently said Obamacare has been a “disaster,” officials with the hospital say that in fact, the ACA has been the opposite. Jay Shannon, CEO of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, said that prior to Obamacare more than half its patient population was insured and now the population is a majority insured.

“Thanks to healthcare reform and operational efficiencies, for the first time in our history we’ve broken even as a healthcare system for the past three years,” said Shannon. “This fiscal stability and sustainability is largely because of the ACA and its preservation is critical to our ongoing success.”