SPRINGFIELD The Illinois Senate passed a Medicaid expansion bill (SB 26) today by a vote of 39-20. The measure first passed the Senate on February 28 but since the House made amendments before approving the bill on May 27, it needed to return to the Senate for a concurrence vote.
SB 26 is now heading to Governor Pat Quinn's desk; AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) urges him to sign it into law.
"We have a lot of people to thank for this," said Ramon Gardenhire, AFC's Director of Government Relations. "Among them is Sen. Heather Steans, who did an amazing job leading the bill through the Senate earlier this year and again today. This landmark legislation will have a major impact on people living with HIV, as well as individuals who experience poverty and have difficulty accessing health care."
SB 26 will allow Illinois to extend Medicaid coverage to adults ages 19 through 64 who earn less than about $16,000 per year, including thousands of individuals living with HIV. Previously, people with HIV had to be totally disabled before they qualified for Medicaid.
"We're hopeful that Governor Quinn will sign SB 26 into law," Gardenhire said, "and we encourage him to act as quickly as possible. Passing a measure like this is necessary in fighting HIV/AIDS, and it will empower everyone who earns low wages across the state to take control of their health care."
To learn more about the ways health care reform will benefit people with HIV, visitwww.HIVHealthReform.org, a partnership between AFC and a number of national organizations.
Founded in 1985 by community activists and physicians, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago is a catalyst for local, national, and international action against HIV/AIDS.