Foster: Obamacare improvements the way to go

Rep. says there's an 'idealization' of Medicare for All

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster said he wants to focus on improvements to the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, instead of embracing a “Medicare for All” health care system.

While he's facing a primary challenge in 2020 from the progressive Will County Board member Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet, Foster said he wanted to give Americans more options and not take away private health insurance from those who have it. He said among the votes he's taken as a member of Congress, he was proudest of his vote for the ACA.

“First and foremost, I believe in universal coverage for all Americans,” Foster said in an interview with The Herald-News. “The difference is mainly on the politically and financially reasonable paths to get there.”

The congressman said he wants to see a public insurance option implemented for the approximately 27.5 million Americans who do not have any health insurance. He also wanted to further expand Medicaid, an important aspect of the ACA, and continue to lower prescription drug prices.

Foster, D-Naperville, said he felt there was an “idealization” of the Medicare for All proposal made popular by progressive presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont. Sanders’ proposal would place all Americans under government health insurance, which, he argues, would eliminate out-of-pocket expenses and lower overall health care costs.

Ventura said she decided to run against Foster in part because of his refusal to support Medicare for All. She was among a group of locals who demonstrated in front of Foster's district office in Joliet earlier this year to pressure him to support the plan. On her campaign website, she argues Medicare for All is the simplest way to fix the nation's health care system and said she wants to stop private insurance and pharmaceutical companies from "profiting off the suffering and deaths of others."

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.