On Tuesday, May 28, the Illinois General Assembly passed Senate Bill 26 - a bill that expands Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to individuals below 138% of the federal poverty level. It passed the House by a vote 63-55 and the Senate by a vote of 39-20. SB 26 will help ensure that over 342,000 previously uninsured Illinoisans, 60% of whom are employed, have access to health insurance at no cost to the state. Medicaid is currently only available to low-income individuals who also meet a categorical requirement. Those categorical requirements include (1) a child under age 19, (2) a pregnant woman, (3) a parent living with a child under age 19, (4) an individual over age 65 or (5) an individual with a disability. SB 26 will allow for childless adults ages 19-64 with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level to access health insurance, including access to preventative medical care that will keep them out of costly emergency rooms. It is anticipated that Medicaid expansion will reduce the amount of uncompensated care provided in Illinois by $953 million over the next decade. Expanding Medicaid will also generate $4.6 billion for Illinois in provider payments. AARP commends the General Assembly for passing the bill and urges the Governor to sign the bill into law.
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