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Take action TODAY! Support expansion of IL Medicaid to cover all seniors age 60+

May 21, 2020

Dear friends,

*Este mensaje se repetirá en español a continuación*

Champaign County Health Care Consumers is joining with Healthy Illinois to call on IL Governor JB Pritzker to support HB 4891 / SB 3703 – Healthy Illinois for All.

This bill creates a pathway to health coverage through the Medicaid program for all low-income seniors in IL, including undocumented immigrants. This expansion of coverage is critical for keeping all communities healthy in the face of COVID-19. (For more information on HB 4891 / SB 3703, please see further down in this message, after the Take Action section.)

Please take action TODAY by calling the Governor’s Office, and/or signing on to support this legislation:

There are two ways you can take action TODAY:

1. Call the Governor’s Office at 217-782-6830.
Here is a sample message you can leave when you call: “Hello, my name is ____________ and I am calling in support of HB 4891 – Healthy Illinois for ALL. This bill creates a pathway to health coverage for all low-income seniors in IL and is critical to keeping all communities healthy in the face of COVID-19. I urge you to support HB 4891 – Healthy Illinois for All Act.”

Note: Due to heavy call volumes, you may be disconnected or voicemail may be full. Try to call at different times if you are able to do so. And/or, you can also add your name to the sign-on letter.

2. Fill out the Organizational and Individual Endorsement form here.

About HB 4891 / SB 3703 – Healthy Illinois for All

Addressing Illinois’ Health Care Crisis Means Moving Towards Coverage for All – and Protecting Our Seniors First.

The COVID-19 public health crisis is devastating to our senior population – and undocumented seniors are made especially vulnerable because they are currently ineligible for Medicaid, Medicare, or ACA coverage – despite paying state and local taxes. An estimated 2,200 Illinois seniors aged 60 and over who would otherwise be income-eligible for Medicaid, aren’t able to receive coverage simply because of their immigration status. COVID- 19 has shown that our public health is interdependent: our seniors need meaningful access to healthcare to help ensure the health of ALL Illinoisans, both during this pandemic and future expected outbreaks.

HB 4891 / SB 3703 (Healthy Illinois for All) creates a pathway to health coverage first for all low-income Illinois residents aged 60 and older, with household incomes of up to 138% FPL ($17,236 for an individual) regardless of their immigration status.

As Illinois considers this legislation as a part of an overarching state response to the COVID-19 crisis, we have proposed phasing in to prioritize expansion first for seniors who have been made most vulnerable during this crisis. This phase-in starts this year with approximately 2,200 seniors aged 60 and above during this General Assembly session. We would then propose ramping up to the full population (ages 19-59) starting in 2021. This approach would continue Illinois’ leadership by being the first state in the nation to provide Medicaid-like coverage to undocumented seniors.

Healthy Illinois For All: A Pathway to Reduce Health Care System Strain

The uninsured have incentives to delay care and testing which is a huge problem given that COVID-19 can turn from mild to deadly in a matter of hours. That translates into avoidable emergency room visits and hospitalizations, which, in turn, translates into sky-rocketing uncompensated care costs borne by hospitals. People over 60 and who have other health problems are more likely to be hospitalized and/or die from COVID- 19. Projections from the Illinois Health and Hospital Association have estimated that Illinois hospitals are losing $1.4 billion a month. The financial stability of Illinois hospitals can be partially shored up by extending coverage pathways to all of Illinois’ uninsured.

HB 4891 will reduce the number of uninsured senior patients in Illinois converting them to reimbursable patients. An uninsured low-income COVID-19 positive senior will endure a much more severe course of COVID- 19, incurring very expensive medical bills. According to FAIR HEALTH, an independent nonprofit organization, an uninsured hospitalized COVID-19 patient can be expected to be charged between $21,936 to $38,755 for their single 6-day hospital stay. In comparison, the cost of providing comprehensive health insurance through Healthy Illinois for All to a senior age 60 or over would be $8,564 for one year.

By expanding health care coverage to undocumented Illinoisans – starting with our seniors first – we can lower our uninsured rate, reduce the amount of uncompensated care, and ensure a more universal and equitable health care system for all Illinoisans. Health care is a human right, and our health system is stronger when everyone is included.

En español:

Estimados Amigos de CCHCC:

Gracias a todos los que nos han ayudado a ampliar nuestro llamado a acción para llamadas hoy. La línea de la Oficina del Gobernador se vio abrumada por nuestras llamadas hoy y muchos de ustedes nos dijeron que tuvieron problemas al ser desconectados o con un correo de voz lleno. Como tal, estamos activando una carta de respaldo individual y organizacional que cerraremos al final del día mañana, jueves 21 de mayo. Disculpas por el corto plazo, pero queremos asegurarnos de que podamos llevarlo a la Oficina del Gobernador.

Solicitamos que continúen las llamadas, pero que se le informe a nuestra gente que también firme la carta de respaldo individual y de la organización para registrar su intento, ya sea que lo logren hablar con alguien o no.

Un recordatorio rápido de recursos:

1. La descripción de alertas de acción, gráficos actualizados, incluido uno que resume ambas acciones mediante llamada y forma de endoso, está disponible en español aquí

2. La carta de endoso individual y organizacional está disponible aquí. ¡Por favor complete esto lo antes posible!

3. Una copia de la carta que irá a la Oficina del Gobernador también está disponible aquí.

Gracias por todo su apoyo a medida que continuamos abogando por HB4891, Illinois Saludable Para Todos, y para que nuestro lenguaje se levante al presupuesto esta sesión. Si tienen alguna pregunta o necesidad, favor de dejarme saber.

En profunda gratitud,

Thank you for your support!

Champaign County Health Care Consumers