Many worry that up to 1 million Illinois consumers could lose their health insurance if Obamacare is repealed.
But Chicago Department of Public Health leaders aren't just worried about that part of the Affordable Care Act being repealed. They're also concerned about the possible loss of funds used to vaccinate Chicagoans and deal with disease outbreaks.
The Prevention and Public Health Fund created under the health care law has distributed about $12.8 million to the city's Department of Public Health since 2012 for programs to vaccinate thousands of Chicagoans and educate consumers on diseases, among other things.
Statewide, Illinois health departments and organizations got $18.6 million last year, according to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
"It really allowed public health systems throughout this nation to be stronger," said Dr. Julie Morita, Chicago public health commissioner. "It's a critical piece of the Affordable Care Act that really needs to be sustained."
"It would be a huge problem, ranging city-by-city and community-by-community," said Chrissie Juliano, director of the Big Cities Health Coalition, which includes as members officials from 28 city health departments across the U.S. "In a field that does not get a lot of money and has seen continual cuts, losing these dollars really makes it hard for them to do their jobs, which is keeping communities healthy and safe."