Governor J.B. Pritzker called the federal government’s inability to loosen restrictions on the Affordable Care Act poor leadership during his COVID-19 press conference today. Pritzker said that he along with several governors and legislators from both parties asked the Trump Administration to open the public exchanges on the ACA to help provide health insurance to more people during the pandemic. Pritzker said that White House staff had indicated that President Donald Trump would not reopen the ACA’s exchanges. Pritzker went on to call the refusal “leadership malpractice.”
Pritzker said the Trump Administration’s pursuit in the courts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act during the COVID-19 pandemic undermines people’s safety.
Pritzker said that despite the lack of insurance coverage, many health care workers continue to sign up to help in the state’s efforts at hospitals. “We have now received over 1100 applications from both former healthcare workers looking to rejoin the fight and from out of state professionals who want to help Illinois, many of whom are Illinois residents who happen to practice in a border city in another state. Right now, those numbers are running about half and half, with more applications coming in every day. It’s really incredible to watch the people of this state are truly so deeply genuinely caring.”
Pritzker announced this morning a new artists relief effort. The fund for non-profit art organizations and individual artists has already raised $4 million. The fund has launched an arts website for residents to visit for artwork, productions, and couch concerts. Amanda Williams of the Illinois Arts Alliance and renowned Chicago architecture artist thanked the governor for establishing the fund to help Illinois’ artists. She is currently a board member on the Illinois Arts Alliance that will be partially in charge of dividing the grant money to Illinois’ arts community.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike announced that the state had received a surge in death over the last day. She announced 986 additional new cases of COVID-19 with 42 more deaths. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 6,980 cases, including 141 deaths, in 56 counties in Illinois.