To the Editor:
WGN recently hosted a televised debate between current 6th District Rep. Sean Casten and candidate Jeanne Ives. The debate was well moderated and very informative, providing voters a clear distinction between their respective policy positions.
One of those key policy areas discussed was that of health care. Rep. Casten emphasized his support of legislative efforts to protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to reduce our health care costs. Ms. Ives reiterated her opposition to the ACA and advocated the use of 1987-style high-risk pools to protect those with pre-existing conditions and Health Savings Accounts to help purchase insurance.
These pools have had historically dismal results, plagued by chronic underfunding, high premiums and deductibles, long wait periods and enrollment caps. HSA’s benefit primarily those who can afford to set aside part of their income and the financial institutions holding those deposits.
This health care discussion occurs against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 223,000 lives and up ended millions of jobs. At the same time there is a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that could completely overturn the Affordable Care Act.
Arguments are scheduled to be heard one week after the November election. Incredibly, the President and his Justice Department are actively pressing the court to terminate health care coverage under the ACA without any replacement plan.
If the court does invalidate the ACA, more than 20 million Americans would lose their health care coverage under the exchanges and Medicaid expansion. In addition, according to Families USA, approximately 5.4 million newly unemployed workers lost their health insurance since the start of the pandemic, 186,000 of these being Illinois residents.
Ms. Ives is in lockstep with the President with her opposition to the ACA. Instead of supporting the protection of health care for all Americans, she is touting a 1980s era solution for pre-existing conditions and a tax credit approach to purchasing insurance. This is not the type of health care policy leadership that residents of the 6th District need.
Robert L Teiken