Statement From President Toni Preckwinkle And Dr. Jay Shannon:
A core mission for Cook County government and for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System is to ensure that all residents, regardless of need, have access to quality health insurance and care. The latest effort by Congressional Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Graham-Cassidy bill, would deliver a catastrophic blow to our health system, our vulnerable patients and our mission.
Cook County stands with patients, doctors, hospitals and insurance companies in opposing this legislation and we urge members of Congress to vote “no.”
Since 2014, the ACA has provided health insurance coverage for millions of previously uninsured Americans, including more than 600,000 people in Cook County. Through Cook County’s managed Medicaid program, CountyCare, we are the insurance provider for 140,000 of those individuals. Cook County residents, like all Americans, deserve the chance to live their lives without fear of being debilitated by chronic disease or medical bankruptcy.
The proposed Graham-Cassidy legislation punishes states like Illinois, which created much-needed health care opportunities for their residents by expanding Medicaid and establishing insurance exchanges, by revoking billions of dollars in federal appropriations in the coming decades. Such a cynical redistribution of funds is bad policy and petty politics.
Health care is a human right. As a society, we must decide if the Graham-Cassidy bill is direction we can allow our country to go. For one of the wealthiest, most developed countries to take such a giant leap backwards in its health care policy will be economically devastating and a moral travesty.
We remain open to commonsense, bipartisan action at the federal level to stabilize insurance markets and make sure that even more people are able to secure health insurance coverage. Any proposal that takes coverage away, particularly from our most vulnerable residents, is a non-starter.