Rauner, it’s time to get confrontational about ACA repeal

By Editorial Board

In a Feb. 13 letter, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky led Democratic senators in the Illinois House of Representatives to urge Gov. Bruce Rauner to fight the repeal of Obama’s Affordable Care Act, an item high on President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Trump began the task on Jan. 20, by signing an executive order requiring federal agencies to minimize “burdens” imposed by the ACA was although no immediate plan to deal with the effects was offered, according to a Jan. 20 Washington Post article.

In the letter, senators pointed to the detrimental effects the complete repeal of the ACA would have on the 1.2 million people in the state who receive care through the act, as well as on the state economy, including the loss of 95,000 jobs and $13.1 billion in economic activity. The letter cites the improvement in the uninsured rate of Illinois—7.1 percent—compared to 12.7 percent before the ACA took effect. The repeal would also lead to extreme losses in insurance coverage and reduced funding for essential providers including Illinois’ hospital system and limit access to critical healthcare services, according to the letter.

Rauner recently told members of the Daily Herald Editorial Board that he planned to urge Trump to reconsider the repeal, which, if implemented, would put Illinois in a “very tough dynamic,” according to a Feb. 2 Daily Herald article. The Democrats’ letter cited these comments, saying representatives appreciated Rauner’s recognition that repealing ACA would harm the state of Illinois.

Though Rauner is taking a step forward—unlike other Republican leaders—The Chronicle implores him to do whatever is necessary so that ACA-insured Illinoisans continue to have access to healthcare. Illinois citizens and senators are fearful of what the future could look like without ACA, as shown in the letter, and Rauner must recognize those fears. 

Rauner should not look at the ACA as a partisan issue, but rather as an important asset to the state that he helps run. If Rauner wants to get re-elected, he needs to prove that he will choose his state over his party. 

Rauner made promises on the campaign trail such as lowering the state income tax from five percent to 3.75 that has only just been fulfilled.

His inability to negotiate with the opposition has left the state without a comprehensive budget or healthy working relationships between parties, but with this ominous threat looming over ACA-insured Illinoisans, he must produce results.

As a leader, his voice rallying against the repeal could ignite other Republican governors to take the same stance nationally. If there was ever a time to stand up and make sure the voices of his constituents are heard, it is now.