Rauner’s veto targets people with pre-existing health conditions

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Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of HB 2624, which will allow unregulated junk health plans into the Illinois marketplace, is personal to me and the 26 percent of people in Chicago who have a pre-existing condition.

I was diagnosed in 2000 with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), an inherited disorder that causes a progressive thickening of the heart muscle. Over time, HCM will make my heart less efficient. It can also cause arrhythmias that can lead to sudden and fatal cardiac arrest.

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HCM is also expensive. I need to see a cardiologist annually and have regular follow-up tests. I also have an implanted defibrillator. That costs $25,000 for the device alone, and it does not last forever. The battery wears down after 5-7 years and it has to be surgically replaced (I’m currently on my third).

My future likely includes daily medication and additional heart surgeries, maybe even a transplant. Fortunately, my workplace provides good insurance; but until the Affordable Care Act, I lived in fear of losing my job and being unable to find another one — and losing coverage of my pre-existing condition as a result.

The short-term, junk insurance plans that would have been regulated by the state of Illinois under HB 2624 now threaten our ability to get comprehensive coverage. With Rauner’s veto, these short-term plans will be able to charge people more for coverage based on their pre-existing conditions, or deny them coverage outright. Those plans will also make comprehensive insurance plans more expensive for people like me who need them. Healthier people will be siphoned out of the market into these bare-bone, short-term plans, meaning insurers will have higher costs to cover those of us who remain and who are perceived as expensive or high-risk. Those costs will be passed on to the consumer.

I am deeply disappointed in Rauner’s veto of this bill. Everyone deserves access to affordable expert care and life-saving treatment. This veto will take us back to the dark days before the ACA.

Maureen Hickey, Rogers Park

Humanitarian crisis

The practice of separating children from their parents at the border has created a humanitarian and moral crisis. Hundreds of these children remain in custody, and many of those children are being kept in detention centers here in Chicago. Chicago is a sanctuary city, and it is a city that has opened their arms to immigrants and families since its founding. There are people and organizations here which would love to extend our resources to these kids.

We ask our alderman and the mayor to ensure that sanctuary is extended to these immigrant children. We ask that their records, including education and age, not be shared with ICE. We ask that these children be provided with proper legal representation. We also wish to build community partnerships with those giving shelter to these kids, so we can involve them in activities in our community. We can’t change that they have been torn from their families, but we can show them that we have plenty of love for them.

Jessica Olson, Avondale

Destructive to parks

Neil Steinberg asks: “How will history remember Rahm?” (Sept. 9). One answer is, Rahm Emanuel will go down in history as the Chicago mayor who created a public park-destructive precedent. He is the mayor who is charging an important person $1 to construct a private center [the Obama Presidential Center] on 19.3 acres of Chicago public parkland.

If Mr. Emanuel decides that he, too, deserves some public parkland to construct his own private center, which public park will he choose?

Charlotte Adelman, Wilmette

Stand up

It is time for the opposition to fascism in the United States to stand up to Donald Trump and the right-wing, racist, sexist, and wealthy people who support and enable him.

We need to be defenders of our fragile democracy. We need to vote before it is too late. We cannot allow a Mussolini-wannabe to continue to take this country down. We must stop the right-wing effort to take total control of our government. The effort we made to fight the Nazi’s attempt to take over the world in the 1930s and 1940s needs to be replicated now. Our country and this weary world are depending on us.

Frank DiCristofano, North Center

 

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September 10, 2018 at 01:09PM

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