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Even for a star in ‘Hamilton,’ the Affordable Care Act could be a godsend

Demonstrators protest changes to the Affordable Care Act last year in Chicago. | Getty Images

There are few things that cause a caregiver to someone with special needs more anxiety than threats to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Most of the country now seems to understand that it’s wrong to deny health insurance coverage due to preexisting conditions. Our elected officials should make sure that coverage is protected. But, if the Supreme Court upholds a Texas federal judge’s ruling that the ACA is unconstitutional, that won’t matter.

I want to make sure everyone understands what is at stake for families like mine. This isn’t a red or blue issue, a conservative or liberal issue. It is a life or death issue.

My three-year-old daughter, Adelaide, is significantly disabled due to epilepsy and an unknown genetic condition. Thanks to my husband Miguel Cervantes’ lead acting job in Chicago’s production of “Hamilton,” we have health insurance through the Actors’ Equity Union.

Without coverage of preexisting conditions, we would find ourselves in a position where my husband could never stop working in theater for fear of losing our insurance and not being able to get our daughter accepted on a new plan.

He loves his job. But continuing to work in theater assumes that whatever show he performs in doesn’t close, and if and when it does, that he can get hired for another show. There are no employment guarantees, even for the man starring as Hamilton.

In 2018, our insurance was billed over $700,000 for Adelaide’s medical and pharmaceutical care. Much of the ACA spotlight is on expanded Medicaid and preexisting conditions, but what about the elimination of annual and lifetime spending caps? How quickly do you think we would meet a cap with Adelaide? The cost of not being able to afford our daughter’s health care would negatively affect far more than just our bank account.

Would our marriage survive if we had to choose between putting food on the table or medicating Adelaide? How would our son mentally cope with the sacrifices we would have to make for his sister?

I refuse to allow my daughter to be collateral damage while solutions are debated because politicians rushed to eliminate the ACA. Perhaps you think I’m getting ahead of myself, but I don’t have the luxury of crossing my fingers and hoping that politicians do their job.

My family’s well-being is at stake.

Kelly Cervantes, Bucktown

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Supportive living is a good investment

Seniors and individuals with disabilities in our state need affordable living opportunities. That’s why protecting the viability of Illinois’ Supportive Living Program (SLP) is imperative.

Unfortunately, the long-term sustainability of the program is at risk due to the current low rates of Medicaid reimbursement.

In 2011, Supportive Living (SL) rates were de-linked from nursing home rates, resulting in an inequitable reimbursement. Prior to de-linking in 2011, SL rates were 60 percent of nursing home rates. Since then, SL rates have fallen to 48 percent of the nursing home rate. Supportive Living now receives a mere $74 reimbursement versus the $154 daily reimbursement rate for nursing homes.

I’m urging legislators to support Senate Bill 1785 and House Bill 2637, which effectively re-link the SL rate to 60 percent of the nursing home rate on July 1, 2019. The estimated cost of re-linking is a mere $24 million. It’s a rational solution to support a program that is responsible for saving the state $220 million annually.

Today, there are 154 SL communities with about 12,800 apartments in 73 counties, serving people who can maintain independence due to the services provided. Re-linking is a sound decision that saves money and provides affordable assisted living for our elderly and disabled citizens.

Simply put — investing in the future of Supportive Living is wise health care policy.

Jerry Finis, CEO and co-founder, Pathway to Living

No, Cubs, No

I am proposing that all Cubs fans adopt a new flag to fly at the end of each game instead of the iconic W flag. The new flag would simply read ‘B.S.’, which stands for blown save.

Daniel M. Filipek, Mount Prospect