Updates on health care reform in Illinois

July 2017

Events are unfolding at a rapid pace in DC, and what happens in the next few days (or hours) can hold the key to whether people in our state continue to have health care. Unfortunately for us in Illinois, that cut-off may come much sooner than expected.

 In Illinois, Medicaid Expansion Faces Sudden Death
Our expansion came with a "poison pill"
Medicaid expansion has been a boon to the states that adopted it, both for their health programs and their economies, since the federal government is funding 95% of the cost of covering this newly-eligible population.

Proponents of ACA repeal say they want to phase out the program, by gradually reducing the subsidy amount, starting with with a modest dip to 90% in 2020, and then further reductions each year.

But for Illinois - and seven other states that enacted similar legislation -- the expansion is tied to the federal matching rate -- the so-called "poison pill" clause. The program is automatically canceled any time that match falls below 90%. Under versions of the congressional bills currently being debated, that is slated to happen in 2021.

Eliminations of the Medicaid expansion would mean a loss of health care for some 650,000 residents in Illinois, as well as a loss of jobs in the state and the prospect of hospital closures. And by removing funding from an already severely cash-dry state, it would also threaten the rest of the program, for Illinois residents who were covered by Medicaid before the ACA.

 That Waiting List Myth That's Going Around
Ironically, given how the Medicaid expansion has helped buoy up the entire program, some people seem to think it's actually the cause of people not getting the services they need. Mike Pence, Ted Cruz, and others have been going around claiming that expanding Medicaid has diverted funds from people with disabilities who are on wait lists for services.

Not surprisingly, it turns out that's not the case. At all. And the Kaiser Family Foundation did some research that to prove it. Read more

 In Case You Missed It

PNA increased to $60 - As part of the recently enacted budget, the personal needs allotment for people in Illinois mental health facilities was doubled, from $30. Legislation (SB1353) to make the increase statutory - which means it would be required rather than a budget negotiation each year - is on the governor's desk. Read more

Disability activists getting heard - ADAPT and other disability activists have been making a mark in the media in response to the proposed Medicaid cuts. Read more

 From Our Social Media

On Facebook
#Medicaid is the ONLY source of funding for long-term care. By 2036, millions of #BabyBoomers will be approaching their oldest old age, and 74% of them will require long-term care services. With the Senate's $2.4 trillion (35%) cuts to Medicaid over the next two decades, our country will not be able to support our largest, oldest population! #SaveMedicaid

On Twitter
Check out our new 1-pager on states offering Medicaid managed care and using waivers for cost effectiveness http://bit.ly/2tnU5MG

On Twitter
Aetna threatens exit from Illinois Medicaid Due to Budget Impasse @CrainsChicago  https://t.co/2YqZiXqa30

We will continue to work together, and to keep you informed.

John Jansa
Health & Disability Advocates

Please forward this newsletter to friends or colleagues who are interested in how the ACA and other developments are impacting health care in Illinois with. If you have questions or suggestions, email us at info@illinoishealthmatters.org .
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