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Illinois Hospitals: Don't Repeal Obamacare Without Immediate Replacement

A hospital room
Bill McChesney

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to repeal the federal law known as Obamacare. A group representing Illinois hospitals is warning that doing so without a replacement plan could have dire consequences.

The Illinois Hospital Association says about a million people have gained health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. That's a million people who would be at risk of losing coverage without a replacement plan.

Hospital Association president A.J. Wilhelmi says there would be a return to seeking treatment in emergency rooms.

Yes, people would still be getting some level of health care. But, Wilhelmi says, "there is a cost that certainly impacts employers and individuals through their insurance plans."

That's because without broader coverage, the people who have insurance end up subsidizing those who don't.

In addition to the human cost, Wilhelmi estimates there could be an 11-billion dollar hit to the state's economy as hospitals lay off staff, reduce services and halt construction projects.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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