AARP Urges Senate To Pass Medicaid Expansion

Feb 12, 2013, 12:41 ET from AARP Illinois

Senate Bill 26 would Ensure Medical Care for Thousands of Illinoisans, bring money into the state

Infographic for Twitter: What Medicaid Expansion Really Means For Illinois: #ill #twill #Medicaid

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For thousands of hard-working, financially struggling Illinoisans who cannot afford health insurance, help may be on the way through legislation that would expand the federal Medicaid program, at no cost to the state. The legislation, Senate Bill 26, will be called this week in the State Senate. AARP is urging Senators to pass this urgently-needed measure.

"Thousands of Illinoisans cannot afford the health care they need to take care of themselves and their families. Many of them do not have access to health insurance even though they are working, often times more than one job," said AARP Illinois State Director Bob Gallo. "SB26 provides preventative medical care that will keep individuals out of costly emergency rooms, and bring $4.6 billion into Illinois in provider payments. It's a win-win situation for Illinois residents and the state. AARP fully supports this legislation and urges the Senate to pass it and send it to the House."

There are currently 1.7 million uninsured Illinoisans, but with SB26 at least 342,000 would be newly eligible for, and enrolled in Medicaid over the next four years. Sixty-percent of those newly covered are employed. The legislation would not create new fiscal burdens for Illinois: 100 percent of the expanded program would be paid for by the federal government from 2014-2016, and $4.6 billion would be brought into Illinois in Medicaid provider payments. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that total uncompensated care in Illinois would decline by nearly $1 billion from 2013-2022.

If the bill passes both chambers and is signed into law by the Governor, enrollment for the expanded Medicaid program would start October, 2013. Coverage for those enrolled would start on January 1, 2014.

AARP has joined nearly 160 health groups, advocacy organizations, community organizations and professional groups in support of SB26.

AARP urges members, and the public, to call their State Senator and urge them to support Senate Bill 26. AARP has set up a toll-free hotline, 1-866-616-3322 where individuals can call and get connected with their Senator.