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Rallies in Illinois, elsewhere voice criticism of potential repeal of Affordable Care Act

By Public News Service

CHICAGO — Rallies were held across the country over the weekend to oppose repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois attended a rally at the SEIU Healthcare Office in Chicago on Sunday. He said that the GOP-led assault on President Obama’s signature health-care law could cause more than a million Illinoisans to lose their coverage.

In Illinois alone, Durbin said, 4 million people with employer-based health insurance will no longer benefit from a ban on lifetime caps and protections against discrimination for those with pre-existing conditions.

“If you had a pre-existing condition called being a woman, you were going to pay a higher premium,” Durbin said of the state of the healthcare system before the ACA. “We got rid of that. Lifetime limits on health insurance coverage? That can be destroyed in one trip to the doctor or one accident in your car.”

Over the weekend, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus said President-elect Donald Trump does not have plans to touch Medicare. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he’d like to see a tweet from Trump confirming the campaign promise that he would not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

Durbin said that older folks will be hit particularly hard if the ACA is repealed.

“Senior citizens on Medicare have full coverage for their prescription drugs,” he said. “Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, is saving the average senior in Illinois $1,000 a year on drug costs.”

Also, thousands of young adults in Illinois could be removed from their parents’ health plans, Durbin said. He also warned that repealing the law will cause job losses that would be devastating to the economy.

“We’re going to lose, we estimate, 95,000 jobs in Illinois of healthcare professionals,” Durbin said. “We’re going to see hospitals losing 40 percent of their revenues as we eliminate Medicaid coverage for people.”

Trump has vowed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Congressional Republicans took the first step in that process late last week.

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