AARP Urges State House To Pass Medicaid Expansion

Feb 28, 2013, 15:01 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. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For thousands of hard-working, financially struggling Illinoisans who cannot afford health insurance, help may be on the way through legislation to expand the federal Medicaid program, at no cost to the state. The legislation, Senate Bill 26, today passed the State Senate by a vote of 40-19. AARP commends the Senate, and urges the House of Representatives to follow through and approve this measure.

"Too many 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 commends the State Senate on this action, and urges the House to pass it as soon as possible, and send it to the Governor for his signature."

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 the House 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 Representative and urge them to support Senate Bill 26. AARP has set up a toll-free hotline, 1-888-616-3322 where individuals can call and get connected with their State Representative.