An extension of the state's Covering All Kids health insurance program cleared the Illinois House Tuesday by a 77-38 vote.
The program, which launched in 2006 and offers health insurance to all low-income Illinois children, regardless of immigration status, is slated to expire in July. Some 41,000 children are currently covered under the program.
The House approved HB 5736, which would extend the program until October 2019. The measure, introduced by state Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero), now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Immigrant advocates, health care officials and others lauded the bill's passage in the House.
"We are thrilled that Covering All Kids now moves on to the Senate ensuring that all children in Illinois continue to have health insurance," said Enlace Chicago's Executive Director Katya Nuques. "This is a vital program for our underrepresented communities which guarantees children in our state an equal opportunity for a healthy adult life."
Patrick Magoon, president and CEO of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, added: "As the largest provider of pediatric specialty care in the state, serving children from every corner of Illinois, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago applauds the Illinois House of Representatives for passing 'Covering All Kids,' a successful program that has operated for over a decade and made the lives of thousands of low-income children better. We ask that the Illinois Senate and the governor approve this legislation to continue Illinois' commitment to quality, affordable health coverage for all children."