Hey blog readers,
This is Gerardo with AARP Illinois' Communications Team.
Legislators in Springfield may not be able to reach agreements on state pensions or concealed carry, but there's one important thing that they did agree on - that health care should be available to Illinoisans who need it and cannot afford it!
How did that happen?
This week, the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill that will bring much needed relief to thousands of hard-working Illinoisans who are struggling financially and cannot afford health insurance. Senate Bill 26, which passed out of the House by a vote of 63-55 and the Senate by a vote of 39-20, expands the federal Medicaid program in Illinois, at no cost to the state.
This huge victory is the result of the tireless advocacy efforts of AARP and dozens of organizations who lobbied legislators and secured the votes. The groups are now urging Gov. Pat Quinn (D) to sign the measure into law.
The state is in dire need of Medicaid expansion. Too many Illinoisans simply have not had access to health insurance even though they are working. Senate Bill 26 will help to ensure that over 342,000 previously uninsured Illinoisans, 60% of whom are employed, have access to preventive medical care that will keep them out of costly emergency rooms. Expanding Medicaid will also bring $4.6 billion into Illinois in provider payments.
Bottom line: it's a win-win opportunity. Illinoisans who need access to affordable health care will have it, and the state will be able to get nearly $5 billion. Thousands of Illinoisans and the advocacy organizations who lobbied on their behalf now expect the Governor to do the right thing and sign SB26.