Chicago doctors, medical students protest defunding of ACA

FOX 32 NEWS - President Trump's executive order defunding the Affordable Care Act is a bitter pill to swallow for hundreds of doctors and medical students in Chicago.

So on Monday, they laid their white coats on the ground in protest.

About 200 doctors and medical students from Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine took off their coats as part of the protest.

"Take off your white coat and lay it down before you on the carpet to represent the coverage we're asking to not be pulled out from under our patient's feet."

That's what they say will happen if President Trump's executive order de-funding Obamacare takes effect without a fair substitute.

"We as medical students are training for a future in which people are not punished for their illnesses,” said Noelle Martinez.

"My patients won't be able to come in and see me. And I'm also concerned that many of my patients who have multiple pre-existing conditions will just be dropped from their health insurance,” said Michelle Gorecki.

They say if the feds dump the Affordable Care Act, it's up to state lawmakers to restore those benefits and protections.

"We call for state legislation to maintain coverage levels at least, if not above, pre-ACA norms. And we urge our lawmakers to prevent patients from being dropped from their health plans due to pre-existing conditions,” said physician Bruce Henschen.

Problem is, the state is in a financial black hole with unpaid bills already totaling eleven billion dollars.

Lawmakers say it wouldn't be easy.

"With the threat of rolling back provisions from the Affordable Care Act, that really threatens our ability to provide health care to some of our most vulnerable citizens, and the state has to assume its role, but that doesn't happen without resources,” said State Senator Kwamie Raoul.

The other problem, lawmakers say, is that a state-based Obamacare would draw from a smaller pool of participants, which likely means higher premiums. The doctors say spending the money now on preventative medicine will save the state billions in health care costs later on.

Students and doctors at several other Chicago area medical schools are also planning to protest President Trump's action on the Affordable Care Act.