To the Editor:
The importance of universally available health care for Americans has been accentuated by the current coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 80 thousand lives and upended over 33 million jobs. Yet, ironically, there is currently a case before the US Supreme Court initiated by Texas and a group of states that would completely overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
If the court does invalidate the ACA, more than 20 million Americans would lose their healthcare coverage under the exchanges and Medicaid expansion.
Normally, the U.S. Justice Department defends laws like the ACA. Instead, the president last week urged the Supreme Court to “terminate” health care under the ACA stating he’s “with Texas and the group," while promising a nebulous “great healthcare” replacement.
The prospect of the U.S. Senate taking up health care legislation is as likely as me finding an extraterrestrial living in my garage. Congress tried and failed in 2017 and has had 10 years to develop an alternative plan. Also, there are currently over 400 House bills languishing in the Senate, many of which are bipartisan and involve healthcare costs.
On a more positive note, we are fortunate to have U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (IL-06) and Lauren Underwood (IL-14) who are supporting efforts to strengthen the ACA and reduce our healthcare costs. In contrast, IL-6 candidate Jeanne Ives, who is running against Rep. Casten, advocates reverting to state-run high risk pools to cover people with pre-existing conditions.
Ms. Ives must be aware that high risk pools have been tried with uniformly dismal results, plagued by underfunding, high premiums and deductibles, long wait periods and enrollment caps. That is not the type of health care solution we need now, and certainly not the kind of backward looking representation IL-6 deserves in Congress.
Robert L Teiken