Bill Foster Hosts Health Care Forum

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The Affordable Care Act and Healthcare Forum was held in response to the U.S. Senate Republicans’ proposed plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, which according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, will increase the number of uninsured Americans by approximately 22 million by 2026.

Speakers at the Joliet event included Democratic Congressman Bill Foster of Illinois’s 11th Congressional District, as well as representatives from the AARP, the Illinois Hospital Association, Open Door Health Center, and Will County Substance Use Initiatives, all organizations that have come out against the new plan.

“Under the Senate healthcare bill, the positive gains we’ve seen under the ACA over the past several years with people having coverage and therefore being able to access health care services leading to better outcomes and ultimately lowering the cost of care, all of that will be undone,” said A.J. Wilhelmi, President and CEO of the Illinois Hospital Association.

After opening remarks, the floor was opened to attendees. Many simply wanted to know more about the new plan, others shared stories about the impacts of the Affordable Care Act, whether it helped them find coverage, or cost them their job.

Congressman Foster argues the Affordable Care Act should be improved, rather than repealed.

“When there’s something that could make life better, less expensive, better care for millions of Americans and we’re not even allowed to vote on it; it’s a frustration of mine,” he said.

The Republicans’ current plan has caused division even within their own ranks – with leadership struggling to secure the votes needed to pass it. Congress will be in session for three weeks before the August recess, and the GOP hopes to get the support they need. If not, they’ll face negotiations with democrats on stabilizing the law’s existing insurance markets.

Congressman Foster will be hosting a panel on LGBTQ awareness on July 15 at the Naperville Alive Teen Center.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.