Illinois Review –
CHICAGO – While those concerned about Obamacare are urging DC lawmakers to shut down funding, repeal and permanently stop the nation from plunging fully into government-controlled health care, Illinois has already dived into the Affordable Care Act, with Governor Pat Quinn leading, and Democrat lawmakers alongside, pushing the rest of the state in with them.
Last week, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law SB 26, which, his press release says, enacts “a critical part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) by making Medicaid coverage available to all low-income adults in Illinois.”
“In the home state of President Obama, we believe access to quality health care is a fundamental right and we proudly embrace the Affordable Care Act,” Governor Quinn said. “Thanks to this law and our shared commitment to increasing access to health care coverage in Illinois, the people of Illinois will be healthier and have a higher quality of life.”
Sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), Senate Bill 26 will make Medicaid coverage available to adults with annual income below 138 percent of the federal poverty line, which is $15,860 for individuals and $21,408 for couples. The measure is expected to enroll 342,000 people by 2017.
Currently, Medicaid is only available to children, their parents or guardians, adults with disabilities or seniors. Enrollment for the newly eligible population will begin Oct. 1 with coverage starting on Jan. 1.
Under Obamacare, for the first three years, coverage of newly eligible adults will be 100 percent federally funded. The reimbursement rate will phase down to 90 percent by 2020. State officials estimate this will bring more than $12 billion in new federal funding to support the state’s health care system from 2014 to 2020.
“The Affordable Care Act gives Illinois the resources to provide critical health care services to a population that desperately needs it,” Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos said. “Under Governor Quinn’s leadership, we are reforming our health care system so that it focuses on delivering coordinated care and keeping people healthy through better preventive care, not just paying the bills when they become sick.”
Illinois is also increasing access to health coverage through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace, another major feature of the ACA. The Marketplace, which also launches enrollment Oct. 1 with coverage starting Jan. 1, will be accessed through a user-friendly website where individuals, families and small businesses will be able to compare health care policies and premiums and purchase comprehensive health coverage.
Those with income between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level will receive subsidies on a sliding scale if they obtain coverage through the marketplace.