On October 9th, 2020, Greater Elgin Family Care Center (GEFCC) was honored to host U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood’s (D-IL, 14th) press conference outside of GEFCC’s McHenry Community Health Center.
Joined by Joy Ellison (constituent from McHenry), Rob Mutert (constituent from Woodstock), Suzanne Hoban (Executive Director of Family Health Partnership Clinic), and Bob Tanner (President and CEO of Greater Elgin Family Care Center), Congresswoman Underwood discussed the imperative need to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Congresswoman Underwood indicated that the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to overturn the ACA in the middle of a pandemic, leaving thousands of Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions without protection. The overturning of the ACA will cut off health coverage for many Americans and raise costs for thousands. What’s worse is that health care coverage could be denied to those suffering from long-term health effects of COVID-19, labeling it a pre-existing condition.
“The virus is new, so the long-term health effects of coronavirus are still being studied. We’ve already seen patients suffering from lingering conditions; From heart damage to lung failure, fatigue, and serious mental health conditions. Many continue to experience these symptoms with no end in sight, and now face the horrifying reality that their own health care may be in danger. The Affordable Care Act protects people with pre-existing conditions from being denied, dropped, or charged more due to their pre-existing conditions,” said Congresswoman Underwood.
Joy Ellison is a teacher and constituent from McHenry who recovered from COVID-19 but continues to struggle with lingering health effects because of the virus. She is a prime example of someone who would be significantly affected by overturning ACA in the middle of a Pandemic. Joy shared “I have had a lot of stomach issues, I have had severe hair loss, I’ve had shortness of breath, I’ve had fatigue, I’ve had my sense of smell that never has returned. So, I think about my future, because if the ACA law is repealed…having COVID, I don’t really want that to mark me forever.”
Rob Mutert, Executive Director of Warp Corps and constituent from Woodstock, had to shut down his small business for two months, and thanks to the ACA, he was able to see his doctor. “As an American and Marine Corps Veteran, I’m thankful for the Affordable Care Act. That is how I insure my family,” said Rob. He continues to struggle with lingering symptoms of coronavirus. Rob also works in substance abuse prevention and with people with pre-existing conditions.
The ACA has helped millions of Americans access health care, but many Americans could lose protection without it. However, the community can still count on Community Health Centers, like Greater Elgin Family Care Center.
“Community Health Centers are the largest network of primary health care providers in the United States. There are 45 different Community Health Centers in Illinois and almost 1,400 of them across the country. Collectively, they are charged with providing primary health care to low-income people. We provide primary health care…pediatrics, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, behavioral health services, substance use disorder services, and dental services.” said Bob Tanner.
Health care is an essential part of an individual’s wellbeing. That is why Greater Elgin Family Care Center welcomes and accepts everyone, reaching out to patients from over 52 municipalities. McHenry Community Health Center is one of GEFCC’s larger Health Centers., offering pediatric care, family medicine, women’s health care, including OB/GYN, behavioral health, and psychiatry services.