While Republican governors turn off extra unemployment benefits and refuse Biden's offer on expanding Medicaid, Illinois is making Medicaid more generous and easier to get.
Democratic Governor JB Pritzker announced Tuesday that expanded Medicaid benefits will last until he declares the Covid emergency in the state over, PLUS one year.
“Healthcare is a human right," said Pritzker at the signing ceremony. "Here in Illinois, we won’t stop until everyone can access all aspects of it. In recognition of the pandemic that we continue to live in, this legislation expands emergency Medicaid coverage for many months to come. That means Illinoisans who suddenly found themselves in need of Medicaid coverage in the face of COVID-19 won’t find the rug pulled out from under them just because our lives are starting to feel a bit more ‘normal.’”
The Springfield (IL) State Journal-Register (paywall) reports that under this new law, Illinois will:
- recognize veteran support specialists as mental health professionals
- cover both individual and group tobacco cessation programs
- cover medically necessary in-patient treatment for anyone experiencing an opioid overdose or withdrawal if it’s determined to be medically necessary
- cover kidney transplant medications regardless of a patient’s U.S. residency status, and
- provide a 10 percent increase, through March 31, 2022, in reimbursement rates for supportive living facilities, to be paid for with federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Last year at this time, Pritzker suspended all premium and co-pays for any Medicaid recipients in the Workers with Disabilities (HBWD), Veterans Care (VC) and All Kids Share and Premium programs until the COVID state of emergency is declared over.
And those children "aging out" of Medicaid at age 19 will stay on the program until further notice.
With all the horrible news coming out of states with Republican Governors, it's great to hear that a Democratic governor in the Midwest, with a Democratic legislature, is expanding healthcare during this time of crisis.