Progress Illinois: Schakowsky: We Must Insure All Americans

Progress Illinois: Schakowsky: We Must Insure All Americans
January 18, 2011
by Adam Doster

Today in Washington, the U.S. House of Representatives will begin debating legislation that would repeal the new federal health care law. The body could pass that bill as early as tomorrow. And while U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez rightfully called the effort “political theater at its worst” in a statement Friday, namely because any legislation that clears the lower chamber will be blocked in the U.S. Senate or the White House, advocates of health care reform are taking the Republicans’ offensive quite seriously.

On Friday, we showcased a new report that analyzes the practical impact retracting the Affordable Care Act would have on Illinois consumers. (Ezra Klein did the same thing using national figures this morning.) And reverting to that status quo, warns U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, is immoral and economically unsound. At a press event sponsored by the Campaign for Better Health Care, the North Side Democrat was joined in Chicago this morning by one of her constituents, diabetic David Zoltan-Breiger, who recently enrolled in Illinois’ new federally funded high-risk insurance pool. “I don’t need to worry about what happens if I have an emergency,” Zoltan-Brieger says. “I’m covered … for now.” Watch portions of their comments below:

After taking a full-out repeal vote, Republicans will quickly move to gut central provisions in the new law. Already, the GOP leadership is preparing to pass legislation that would “direct committees to craft new legislation.” That could mean initiatives to rescind the individual mandate, which is unpopular but the lynchpin of the reform package. (Without it, premiums will skyrocket for those who are not healthy enough to forgo insurance.) “Let’s not be defensive about this issue of a mandate,” Schakowsky says. “It is a necessity to make the system work. We want everyone in the United States of America to have insurance.”