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Cook County Braces For Potential Financial Hit From Trump Healthcare Plan

(CBS) – More Republicans may be pulling away from supporting President Trump's healthcare plan, including Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam.

One factor: The Congressional Budget Office's projection that 24 million people would lose coverage.

Experts say Cook County and its taxpayers could be hit especially hard. CBS 2's Dana Kozlov reports.

Earl Williams Sr., 61,didn't get his diabetes diagnosis until he signed up for county care. He didn't have health insurance at all until the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act made it possible.

"So, now I'm doing preventative care instead of emergency care," he says.

Officials say Williams and almost a half a million other county residents have gotten insured under expanded Medicaid.  With that, came federal dollars. But Trump's replacement for Obamacare would end expansion in 2020 and change the funding.

"It will be a tremendous fiscal challenge. It's $300 million, at the very least that we're talking about. That's quite a hit," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says.

Experts also fear the numbers of uninsured would skyrocket because the new plan requires Medicaid recipients to re-register twice a year instead of once. That's a cumbersome process that may then force them to seek care in the more expensive ER.

The president of the Illinois Policy Institute sees the GOP plan differently.

"This isn't the catastrophe that so many people are portraying it to be. It largely keeps the Medicaid expansion intact," Kristina Rassmussen says.

She thinks the plan doesn't go far enough in terms of reform. And despite its predictions about coverage losses, the CBO did predict the Trump healthcare bill would cut the deficit by $337 billion in 10 years.


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