Durbin: Obamacare repeal could be trouble for Illinois

CHICAGO -- Doctors and hospital administrators are wondering; what happens after August?  Chicagoans who rely on community clinics and Medicaid are especially worried.

US senator Dick Durbin is among the concerned.  The high-ranking Democratic leader is visiting a community clinic on the west side.  Depending on what happens in Washington, Durbin fears working families could lose their health care safety net.

“We’ve got to find a bipartisan way to solve this problem…to make sure Medicaid continues to reach out and provide health insurance to those who can’t find coverage in any other way,” said Durbin.

Durbin says President Donald Trump’s on-again off-again threat to pull federal Obamacare subsidies and reduce Medicaid funds could be devastating, especially to low-income people relying on places like the Miles Square Health Center.

“I’ve had many sleepless nights,” said Dr. Henry Taylor, President and CEO of Miles Square Health Center.

Miles Square doctors helped Carol Gyimatey battle breast cancer.  But the single mom worries about others if community health clinics go away.

“How am I going to pay for chemotherapy?” said Gyimatey.

According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, low-income clinics save the health care system and taxpayers billions of dollars a year through reduced Emergency Room visits and expensive hospitalizations.

Durbin says it’ll take time for the House & Senate to fix problems with the Affordable Care Act but medical experts say an outright repeal of Obamacare will force legislators and institutions to make awful decisions.

A repeal would be devastating for health centers and the 1.3 million Illinois residents who rely on them for primary care.