The Future Of The Nation’s Health Care Law
Republican leaders in Congress have started the process of dismantling the Affordable Care Act. But an advocate in Champaign says she is glad to see they're slowing down the process of repeal and replace. Champaign County Health Care Consumers Executive Director Claudia Lennhoff says ending the ACA means more than ending coverage for 22-million people.
She says a repeal would mean an increase in premiums for employer-based insurance plans, and a gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage for seniors called the "donut hole" would widen instead of shrink.
But Lennhoff says some in Congress are listening.
“The little bit of hope that I have is that the timeline for repeal and replace, or repeal and repair whatever they’re calling it now, has been pushed back," she said. "I think they’re taking the issue more seriously, and understanding more that there is pushback and lots of people would be affected and they don’t want to see this go away.”
15th District Republican Congressman John Shimkus of Collinsville says part of the ACA could be replaced with a reconciliation bill - taxes or spending items within the law that only require a simple majority in the Senate.
But he admits that replacing the measure with what he calls a "multitude of bills" could take up much of 2017.
"I think the president realizes that this might take a little bit longer than he thought, and I think a lot of people would like for us to go a little bit slower," Shimkus said. "I think they know it’s coming, so I think they would rather see it unfold where people have a heads up.”
Lennhoff says Shimkus is key to whatever replaces the ACA, since he serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
President Donald Trump said recently that finding a replacement may not happen until 2018.
Shimkus says another step in the repeal process is the confirmation of Georgia Republican Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services. A final vote is expected early Friday.
Price is a staunch opponent of the ACA.