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Sunday letters: Pipe down, Mike Ditka

Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka says President Donald Trump will "make changes and upset the status quo." | Sun-Times file photo

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Funny how a washed-up old coach is telling everyone to grow up and not express their opinions about our recently elected child president (“Ditka defends Brady after QB ripped for backing Trump” — Feb. 3). It’s embarrassing that windbags like Mike Ditka continue to be quoted in reputable papers like the Sun-Times. His comments are coming from a guy who never had a positive thing to say about President Obama, who a majority of Americans wish were still in office. I wonder how much Ditka suffered during the Obama administration?

John Schow, Near North Side

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

The cost of cutting Medicaid

Medicaid expansion in Illinois was a victory for the state. It shifted the cost of health care for childless adults to the federal government, shifting the cost burden away from the state.

Any change to this agreement would revert costs back to Illinois when it can least afford it.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, is among the national leaders fighting attempts by Republicans to dismantle Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. | Zach Gibson/Getty Images file photo
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, is among the national leaders fighting attempts by Republicans to dismantle Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. | Zach Gibson/Getty Images file photo

As President Donald Trump and Congress move toward “repealing and replacing” the Affordable Care Act, more than 650,000 newly eligible Illinoisans are poised to lose coverage under Medicaid.

Impairing access for newly eligible patients would be devastating for low-income adults without children who qualified for Medicaid coverage for the first time when Illinois enacted Medicaid expansion. The federal government paid Illinois 100 percent of Medicaid costs initially. The uninsured rate of Illinoisans was at an all-time low.

If repealed, hospitals and clinics will pick up the tab for the uninsured. Others will not get valuable mental health or drug treatments, ending up in jails or homeless shelters. Still others will have untreated medical conditions and will get sicker.

Ensuring access to health care is essential for efficiency, stable families, businesses and government. Gov. Bruce Rauner needs to stand up and make a clear and unequivocal statement along with other Republican governors who are in favor of continued Medicaid expansion.

Rauner needs to put President Trump and the GOP-led Congress on notice. The consequences to Illinois if the expansion is repealed would be dire.

Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, and Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago

Legislative sponsors of Illinois Medicaid expansion law

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