ILLINOIS — Friday, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and members of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association voiced their concerns over the repeal of the American Care Act.
Durbin says more than 50,000 people in Central Illinois could lose their coverage, something advocates say would be devastating.
“When I could see that there was care there for someone who couldn’t ‘t afford it just breaks your heart,” says American Cancer Society volunteer Dr. Roger Crawford.
He says it was a difficult reality to face. The now retired oncologist has helped thousands fight cancer but, too often, those without access to health insurance couldn’t be saved.
“I think about them all the time and I wear a wristband that I was given by a 14-year old. She was an inspiration to me.”
That’s who’s he’s fighting for. Since he retired, he’s dedicated his life trying to get more people covered.
“Every person should have healthcare.”
“We have a task before us. I think it’s one of the most important I’ve faced when it come to the issue of healthcare for our state,” says Durbin.
Durbin says one million people in Illinois will lose their healthcare if ObamaCare is repealed, and billions would be lost in Medicaid funding.
Republicans argue the repeal is needed to reduce premiums and reduce tax burdens; however, Democrats say this replacement does more harm than good.
“No massive tax cut and we are not going to devastate Medicaid. We are going to make sure that we build on the number of people insured not cut it back.”
Regardless of the outcome, there will be a uphill battle. Crawford says he’s ready for the fight. He’s reminded every time he look down at his bracelet.
“Never give up. I told her I would never take this band off no matter what and I’ll never take it off.”
Durbin also touched on the recent cancer diagnosis of Senator John McCain. He gave his best wishes to him and said it’s brought cancer to the forefront of this debate, saying if he didn’t have insurance that battle would be much worse.