“We have a moral obligation to not turn our backs on 342,000 low income people who are unable to access coverage today.  When they do present at hospital emergency rooms they end up costing all of us more money than if they had some form of health insurance in the first place. With an influx of federal cash, this is the time to help the most vulnerable people in our state get the medical care they need,” said State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D- Chicago Heights).

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.

Expected benefits include:
• Access to routine, coordinated care for 342,000 low-income adults
• Fewer unnecessary and uncompensated emergency room visits
• An influx of $1.1 billion in federal dollars in the first year and more than $12 billion in federal funds in the first eight years of the expansion
• Job creation in the health care sector
• $105 million in annual savings to the state as federal funds replace state expenditures on mental health, HIV/AIDS drugs and other areas of spending
• A reduction in the burden on hospitals and local government currently caring for the uninsured
• Better preventive care and mental health care for a vulnerable segment of the population

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