Suburban Chicago Republican congressmen back Trump health care move as Democrats go on attack
October 13th, 2017, 3:35 pm
Two suburban Chicago Republicans in Congress voiced support for President Donald Trump’s latest executive order on health care, as Democrats joined their party’s national backlash against the latest GOP proposal to change the Affordable Care Act.
The move announced this week means the federal government will cease crucial federal payments to health insurers that provide coverage to low-income Americans. Illinois on Friday joined more than a dozen states that have filed a lawsuit to block the payment cuts.
Trump’s order is the latest salvo in Republicans’ effort to topple the law commonly known as Obamacare following unsuccessful GOP attempts in Congress to repeal and replace the law.
“The Administration’s actions today reinforces our system of government as laid out in the Constitution that gives Congress the ultimate authority to determine how these funds are used,” Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton said in a statement. “We will continue to look for ways to make the market more competitive and give taxpayers a break by bringing down the rising cost of health care.”
And Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Plano said “eliminating free money for insurance companies would actually benefit low-income consumers and increase the number of insured Americans starting in 2020.”
Illinois’ seven House Republicans from Illinois in May supported a measure to end many provisions of the ACA. All 11 House Democrats were opposed. Later efforts in the Senate derailed.
Democrats, though, once again found themselves criticizing the latest Republican move on health care.
“Born into wealth, President Trump has likely never spent a day of his life worried about being able to afford health care for his family,” Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin posted on Twitter.
And Democratic U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Hoffman Estates sent Trump a letter saying a Congressional Budget Office report shows the president’s move would cause harm.
“This plan is particularly cruel to the 6.7 million middle-class Americans whose premiums will increase but who do not qualify for the tax subsidies,” the letter reads in part. “These middle-class families would see their out-of-pocket costs increase just to access the same level of care.”
The payments Trump ordered eliminated help insurers reduce co-pays and deductibles for low-income consumers who get plans on marketplaces.
They mean that someone who would normally face a deductible of $2,000 or more would potentially have no deductible.
This additional assistance can be especially important because many low-priced health plans force consumers to pay very high deductibles before their medical care is covered.
A group of more than a dozen states, led by California, have petitioned a court to block the administration from halting the payments. Illinois is among the states involved in that lawsuit, Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office said Friday.
The state’s largest insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, said Friday it plans to remain on the state’s Obamacare exchange next year despite Trump’s decision.
The president again drew criticism from Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday, who said in a statement “we will work with our partners to make sure all Chicagoans have access, information and assistance for marketplace enrollment this year, even as the president has slashed funding and enrollment time.”
Los Angeles Times Washington bureau reporter Noam N. Levy and Chicago Tribune’s Kim Geiger contributed to this story.