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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14)

WEST CHICAGO— Ahead of the U.S. Senate’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing and as over 7.5 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus—a new preexisting condition, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), held a press conference on the importance of protecting the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If the Administration is successful in using the courts to overturn the ACA, it would strip away the protections that 135 million Americans with preexisting conditions depend on, including 320,000 residents of Illinois’ 14th District. Underwood emphasized that in the midst of a global pandemic, every American needs and deserves access to high-quality, affordable health care now more than ever.  

During the event, Underwood was joined by Joy Ellison, a teacher from McHenry, and Rob Mutert, a veteran and small business owner from Woodstock, who shared their personal stories of COVID-19—their new preexisting condition–and the long-term health impacts they each now live with. Additionally, Bob Tanner, CEO of Greater Elgin Family Care Center, and Suzanne Hoban, Executive Director of Family Health Partnership Clinic, shared how overturning the ACA would hurt Illinoisans. 

 “It has never been more important for all of us to speak out about what’s on the line. In the midst of a global pandemic, we need to be expanding access to affordable health care, not ripping it away from the people who need it most. The Illinoisans who would suffer from the Republicans’ ACA repeal are our family members. They are our friends and neighbors. They are the essential workers who have put their lives on the line to keep our communities running during the pandemic, the nurses and doctors who have cared for patients in the most challenging circumstances,”  Underwood said at the press conference. “Threatening health care protections for these Americans is unconscionable. ” 

A full video of the event can be found here, audio can be found here, and photos can be found here.

While the Administration has worked to repeal the ACA, Underwood has championed several bills to strengthen our current system and reduce health care costs. In March 2019, Underwood introduced the Health Care Affordability Act to reduce premiums for consumers who purchase plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Health Care Affordability Act (H.R. 1868) would expand tax credits to people who don’t currently qualify for them because their income is higher than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, and would increase the size of the tax credit for all income brackets. In June, Underwood’s legislation passed the House of Representatives as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. In June 2020, Underwood passed legislation as a part of the House appropriations package for Fiscal Year 2021 that would prevent the Department of Justice (DOJ) from spending federal funds on litigation that undermines the Affordable Care Act. 

In May 2019, legislation Underwood introduced to help protect Americans with preexisting conditions passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation, H.R. 1010, would overturn an Administration rule that expands short-term, limited-duration insurance, commonly known as “junk plans.” The legislation followed action by the Administration that finalized a rule expanding short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans that do not have to offer patient protections like coverage for preexisting conditions or essential health benefits like maternity care, prescription drugs, and hospitalization that the ACA requires.