Monday, the Illinois House approved a key component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would extend Medicaid coverage to up to 500,000 uninsured Illinoisans.
by a 63-55 vote, the legislation, sponsored by State Rep. Sara
Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), now advances back to the Illinois Senate, which needs to approve revisions made by the House. State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago)
introduced the bill, SB 26, in her chamber in January.
is the cornerstone of our president's agenda. Many of us have been
waiting for this moment," said Feigenholtz while the bill was being
hashed out on the House floor.
Medicaid expansion would extend
coverage to individuals making just under $16,000 annually, or up to
138 percent of the federal poverty level.
"They will become insured for the first time in history," Feigenholtz said.
The federal government will
pay 100 percent of the costs associated with the expansion for
the first three years of the program and gradually phase down to 90
percent by 2020.
Gov. Pat Quinn, who supports
the proposal, said the measure would "improve the health of hundreds of
thousands of the most vulnerable people across Illinois."
the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed the fundamental legality of the ACA
last year, it allowed for Medicaid expansion, among other
provisions, to remain optional for states. More than a dozen
Republican-controlled states have refused to expand Medicaid, according to
the Associated Press.
Several Illinois Republicans questioned the bill’s timing considering the state's problematic fiscal situation.
isn't a case of not caring about people who need health care. This is
the case of us being responsible legislators," said State Rep. David
Harris (R-Arlington Heights). “We have a duty to craft a budget that
puts this state on a sound financial footing. This bill weakens our
Medicaid already covers approximately 2.7 million of the state’s 12.8 million residents.