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Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
6:45pm
Thu Sep 12, 2013

Illinois Republicans Vote To Block Affordable Care Act Subsidies

Six Illinois Republicans voted to block health insurance subsidies offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) until there is a system set up to verify income and other eligibility criteria for applicants. The No Subsidies Without Verification Act, HR 2775 (PDF), passed by a 235-191 vote in the U.S. House Wednesday with yes votes coming from U.S. Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL,6), Rodney Davis (R-IL,13), Randy Hultgren (R-IL,14), John Shimkus (R-IL,15), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL,16), and Aaron Schock (R-IL, 18). Only five Democrats voted in favor of the bill. 

The legislation, introduced by U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN,6), will block Americans who buy coverage using the health insurance exchange from receiving an average of $2,700 in tax credits. The bill is a knee-jerk reaction to a July announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that grants state-run health insurance exchanges the ability to take some liberties in determining who is eligible for the immediate tax credits that some Americans would receive when buying coverage.

"Because fraud and abuse have been rampant in just about every program that is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, including Medicare and Medicaid, a certified verification system being in place prior to the implementation to the Affordable Care Act is critical," U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX, 26) said during the bill's debate. "The President's strategy on the healthcare law is now: Trust, don't verify."

But critics say the bill is nothing more than a vapid attempt to dilute the success of the health reform law.

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
4:27pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Immigrant Communities Face Major Barriers In Navigating Affordable Care Act Eligibility, Report Finds

Nearly 260,000 uninsured immigrants in Illinois will be eligible for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when open enrollment begins in October. But a plethora of barriers, including language, literacy and culture, may stand in the way, according to a recent report by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR).

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:31pm
Thu May 9, 2013

IL Senate Committee Passes Legislation For State-based Health Insurance Exchange

The Illinois Senate Insurance Committee passed a measure Wednesday that looks to establish a state-run health insurance marketplace for small businesses and individuals as part of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Some health care and consumer advocates are pushing for a state-based insurance exchange, but questions still remain on how to make the marketplace the best it can be.

"We're walking into a new territory. We haven’t been here yet," said Brigid Leahy, director of legislative affairs at Planned Parenthood of Illinois. "But at least we know that if we're running things at the state level, we can fix things, we can make them better, we have better control over making sure that it works for consumers. If it’s in the hands of the feds, we don’t have that power." 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:47am
Tue Apr 9, 2013

Nearly One Million Illinoisans Eligible For Health Coverage Tax Credits Under The Affordable Care Act

About 957,000 Illinoisans will be eligible for premium tax credits in 2014 that will help them pay for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, a report released Thursday from Families USA shows.

More than half of the nearly one million people who will qualify have annual incomes between 200 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (or $47,100 to $94,200 for a family of four), allowing the premium tax credits to reach deep into the middle class, said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA.

“The tax credit subsidies are a game changer,” Pollack said on a conference call with reporters. “They will make health coverage affordable for huge numbers of uninsured families who would have been priced out of the health coverage and care they need.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:45pm
Tue Feb 19, 2013

New Report Calls For Medicaid Expansion Legislation To Pass In Illinois

In a February report called 'Closing the Medicaid Coverage Gap', Voices For Illinois Children announced its support for the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.

When the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed the fundamental legality of the Affordable Care Act in June, it left open the option for states to decide on various aspects of participation, including the Medicaid expansion.

“Illinois should take advantage of a unique opportunity to offer health care coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income residents,” the report reads. “Given that the federal government will provide nearly all of the funding, extending Medicaid eligibility is a very good bargain for Illinois. We can’t afford to pass up this valuable opportunity.”

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