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Nation & World

DeKalb County congressmen support new GOP health care plan

The two U.S. representatives who represent DeKalb County voted Tuesday for the American Health Care Act, which would replace the Affordable Care Act.

Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, and Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, both supported the bill, which passed in the House on Thursday by a 217-213 vote.

Republicans won passage only after overcoming their own divisions, which nearly sank the measure six weeks ago. The bill now faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, where even GOP lawmakers said major changes are likely. 

“Maintaining the status quo under a failing law is simply unacceptable,” Hultgren said in a statement released Thursday. “I have had great concerns about this bill, and expressed those to Speaker [Paul] Ryan and House leadership. But doing nothing isn’t an option, which is why I supported this amended bill as an important next step in the longer process of broader health reform that will benefit Illinois.”

Republicans have promised to erase President Barack Obama’s law since its 2010 enactment, but this year – with Donald Trump in the White House and in full control of Congress – is their first real chance to deliver. But polls have shown a public distaste for the repeal effort and a gain in popularity for Obama’s statute, and Democrats – solidly opposing the bill – said Republicans would pay a price in next year’s congressional elections.

Kinzinger cited the rising health insurance premiums under “Obamacare,” which have made the system unsustainable.

“Across the country, outrageous deductibles and fewer provider choices are commonplace under Obamacare,” Kinzinger said in a statement after the vote. “The AHCA puts patients back in charge of their own health care and includes several layers of protection for individuals with pre-existing conditions.”

The American Health Care Act provides generous tax credits to people who don’t receive coverage at work or have access to Medicare or Medicaid, introduces competition and choice into the marketplace and reforms Medicaid and provides more than $100 billion to help states provide coverage for those who can’t afford it. 

Hultgren also highlighted that pre-existing conditions would be protected under the American Health Care Act, and that the House also passed H.R. 2192, which means Congress and staff would be subject to the same rules as everyone else. 

“This bill is not the final product – it is not law,” Hultgren said in his statement. “It is simply one solution that offers a way out of the restrictive, costly and unsustainable ACA and moves deliberations to the Senate for consideration. I have faith that the Senate will keep their eyes on what matters most for residents of Illinois, including improving access to affordable coverage and high-quality care regardless of health status, income or age.”

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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