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John Perryman is a pediatrician with Mercyhealth in Roscoe. He sees patients struggling to afford medications. Some families, he says, disappear for stretches of time when they fall off an insurance plan. On this week's Friday Forum, Jenna Dooley talks with Perryman about his view as well as from a major opponent of the idea.

 

WUIS

The federal government cut the advertising budget for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A health care group says that means more people have to spread the word about open enrollment. 

Claudia Lenhoff, executive director of Champaign County Health Care Consumers, said the federal government has cut the advertising budget for the ACA by 90 percent this year.

"That means across the country people won’t be seeing some kind of ads in different media," Lenhoff said.

U.S. House members from Illinois voted lockstep with their parties Thursday on the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The plan pushed by Pres. Trump and his administration narrowly passed, 217 – 213. 20 Republicans joined all 193 Democrats in voting against the plan.

In a statement, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-16) called passage of the AHCA “the first step in repairing the damages of the Obamacare system.”

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Now that the Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act has been tabled, one Congressional Democrat from northern Illinois says it’s time to work together to make the existing law better.

17th District Rep. Cheri Bustos says she’s on the same page with President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan on two important changes they want in the health care law: they all want people to pay less for premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, as well as prescription drugs. She says where they differ is how to get there.  

Jenna Dooley

Healthcare leaders are voicing concerns about the Republican repeal plan to the Affordable Care Act.

Democrat Dick Durbin is traveling the state to meet with those who would be affected by the House changes.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Governor Bruce Rauner says Illinois wouldn’t do very well under congressional Republicans’ new health care proposal.

  

Some conservative groups have also criticized the House GOP's new plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Rauner says he plans to talk to members of Congress and other governors about how to change the proposal.

“I want to make sure people in Illinois are not left in the lurch or that there’s a lot of pressure to reduce insurance coverage for people in Illinois,” Rauner said.

"Wheelchair" by Flickr User zeevveez / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin had harsh words Monday for Republican proposals in Congress to repeal Obamacare and give states more responsibility in running Medicaid.

President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan have both said they’re in favor of so-called block grants; it would transform Medicaid into a system where each state receives a bulk payment from the federal government to pay for healthcare for the poor, elderly and disabled.

That means each state would have to figure out its own how to direct that money and what services to provide.

Flickr user Michael Chen "Pills" (CC BY 2.0) bit.ly/1RgH2Na

An Illinois law that takes effect January first guarantees contraceptive coverage free of co-pays.

The federal Affordable Care Act already provides for that, but some insurers have managed to skirt requirements and have not covered all methods of birth control, according to Representative Elaine Nekritz. 

The Northbrook Democrat sponsored that law the Governor signed over the summer.

“The legislation would also allow and in fact require that a woman could get 12 months of contraception in one visit to the pharmacy,” Nekritz said.

"Electronic Stethescope" By Flickr User Ted Eytan / (CC BY 2.0)

An Illinois group is warning that if Obamacare is repealed without a replacement, there could be significant human and financial consequences.

President-elect Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans made repealing the Affordable Care Act a key plank in their campaigns.

That could be expensive, says Illinois Hospital Association president AJ Wilhelmi.

"Hospitals faced with cuts have tough decisions to make, and those decisions include laying off staff, reducing services, and putting projects on hold for infrastructure improvement,” Wilhelmi said.

"041/365 - April 29, 2009" By Flickr User Morgan / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois consumers who buy health insurance on the marketplace created by President Barack Obama's overhaul will find less choice than ever when they pick a policy for next year.

The lack of competition is felt nationally. A new analysis by The Associated Press and Avalere Health finds about one-third of U.S. counties will have only one health marketplace insurer next year.

In Illinois, last time around, there were three or more marketplace insurers offering plans for 2016 in all counties.

"stethoscope" by flickr use rosmary (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois insurance regulators are reminding customers of Land of Lincoln Health that they must enroll in a new health insurance policy with a different company by the end of the month or they'll have a gap in coverage.

Land of Lincoln began shutting down in July after crippling financial losses.

The 3-year-old nonprofit's failure left 49,000 Illinois policyholders searching for new coverage.

"Electronic Stethescope" By Flickr User Ted Eytan / (CC BY 2.0)

Higher prices and fewer choices on the Illinois "Obamacare" marketplace will make choosing a health plan for 2017 a potentially frustrating experience for families who buy their own coverage.

The Illinois Department of Insurance released information Wednesday on rates it submitted to federal officials. Statewide, the average rate increase for a typical benchmark plan is 43 percent.

In eight counties, only Blue Cross Blue Shield will sell individual coverage.

Aetna / @aetnahelp, twitter.com

Aetna is leaving the Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange in Illinois for 2017. That further reduces competition in the state.

Aetna's announcement late Monday leaves six companies selling plans for next year to individuals and families on the Illinois ACA marketplace. Illinois Department of Insurance spokesman Michael Batkins says two insurers remain selling plans to small businesses. 

The announcement follows UnitedHealthcare's departure from the Illinois exchange. And Chicago-based Land of Lincoln Health is folding after suffering heavy losses. 

hhs.gov

It’s time to sign up or pay up. The deadline for getting an insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act is Sunday. 

You either have health insurance Monday or face fines -- big fines, starting at $695. Kathleen Falk is the Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She says there are a lot of reasons people haven’t registered yet, including still not being convinced they can finally get an insurance company to cover them.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Time is running out for people who haven’t signed up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act

 Following today's ruling  from the U.S. Supreme Court, Illinois residents who bought health insurance under the affordable care act will get to keep tax credits that cut the cost of their plans. 


Get Covered Illinois

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has  released numbers for the first five months of enrollment under the federal Affordable Care Act. According to a news release, 113,733 people enrolled in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace.

GOP Lawmakers Want Review Of Healthcare Navigators

Feb 6, 2014
Get Covered Illinois

Five Illinois Republicans are calling for an audit of the state’s Affordable Care Act “navigators.”

The counselors help people get health coverage under the federal law known as “Obamacare.”

Representative Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) says he wants to see where the money used to pay for the program is going.

state of Illinois

Polls show that many Americans without health insurance still don’t know that the Affordable Care Act requires them to get it.

And many of the uninsured don’t know that low-income people can get federal subsidies.

Governor Pat Quinn’s administration is trying to bring folks up to speed through a multi-million dollar advertising campaign.

It's called “Get Covered Illinois.”