CHICAGO (CBS) — Progressive groups predicted Illinois will see hundreds of thousands people lose health insurance coverage if Congress approves the Senate Republican plan to replace Obamacare.
Jen McGowan, associate director of the Chicago chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said Medicaid cuts in the proposal would hurt the hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois who suffer from mental health or substance abuse problems, and are enrolled in coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
“Reducing our community mental health capacity and making it harder for people to get medications, therapy, case management, and support services that they need,” she said.
McGowan said the Medicaid cuts would exacerbate a decline in mental health services in Illinois caused by the state’s failure to pass a budget for nearly two years.
“With a lack of stable treatment options, individuals end up being treated in hospitals, costing three times that of community health treatment; and [being treated in] jails, costing more than five times as much,” she said.
Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Medicare and Social Security, also blasted the proposed Medicaid cuts in the Senate GOP health care plan, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act, saying Medicaid doesn’t just help the poor.
“Medicaid is a program that takes care of middle class Americans’ long-term nursing home care when they’ve exhausted their savings,” he said.
Kathy Waligora, a director with EverThrive Illinois, said she’s horrified by the Republican plans in both the House and Senate, because they would allow states to petition to get out of ACA requirements to cover maternal care, children’s dental care, and prescription medication.
The Trump administration has said the Senate plan would end the individual coverage mandate, stabilize insurance markets, and give states flexibility in how they implement the new health care law; all while giving coverage to more people.
The Congressional Budget Office has yet to score the Senate plan, but has found the House measure known as the American Health Care Act would leave 23 million more people without health insurance over the next decade. The CBO could release its estimate on the cost and impact of the Senate plan as early as Monday.