State Senator Raoul champions health care access with Medicaid vote

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-13th) issued the following statement on the Senate passage of legislation he co-sponsored to expand access to health care through Medicaid:

As the son of a community physician who never turned anyone away because of inability to pay, I’ve been honored to champion health care access throughout my public service career. Today’s vote — the first step toward expanding Illinois’ Medicaid program with full federal reimbursement under the Affordable Care Act — is a game-changer. Accepting these federal dollars (more than $12 billion over the next seven years) will extend coordinated and preventive care to vulnerable individuals, provide relief to hospitals and clinics overwhelmed with the costs of caring for the low-income uninsured, create nearly 20,000 jobs and even cut $105 million per year from the state budget in the form of health care costs the federal government will assume.

Taking advantage of this unprecedented opportunity will allow our medical assistance program to move forward, embracing preventive care in the most appropriate settings. And it will make comprehensive mental health care available to individuals now suffering from mental illness in our emergency departments and prisons. I’m proud to have cast this vote, and I’ll continue to work for cost-effective and compassionate health care in Illinois.

Key components of Senate Bill 26:

·         All adults with incomes at or below 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit ($15,415 for an individual) will be able to enroll in Medicaid starting January 1, 2014. Currently, adults are eligible for Medicaid only if they have disabilities or care for dependent children.

·         The federal government will reimburse Illinois for 100 percent of the costs of covering these newly eligible enrollees through 2017.

·         The reimbursement rate will decrease gradually after 2017 but stay at 90 percent after 2020.

·         If the federal government fails to reimburse the state at 90 percent or above, the newly eligible clients will become ineligible; Illinois will not be stuck with the bill.