Illinois Senate approves changes to Medicaid

On Wednesday, January 5, the Illinois Senate, by a vote of 58-0, passed major changes to the current Medicaid package in Illinois. The package now goes to the Illinois House for a vote.

According to a Sun-Times article on the reforms, the new package

“would require Medicaid recipients for the first time to prove they are financially eligible for state-subsidized health care. They also would have to show they reside in Illinois.

The plan would impose a form of managed care by 2015 for half of the state’s 2.8 million Medicaid recipients and create income limits for the first time on the state’s All Kids health insurance program for children, (Sun-Times, January 6).”

For the past few months, while the State of Illinois has pledged to move forward quickly on Medicaid Reforms, the disability community has been testifying and raising its voice around the issue. While much of the talk around reform has included a commitment to integrating more community-based services, which is great for the independence of people with disabilities, the focus on managed-care has raised some red flags. Disability advocates are urging the state to not go forward on managed-care without the input and guidance of people with disabilities.

In a letter to the editor on Medicaid Reform submitted to the Chicago Tribune, Access Living’s Amber Smock wrote, “Managed care can serve as a magic bullet in terms of cost savings only when operated in partnership with people with disabilities, who should serve a strong advisory role on care innovations.”

As Medicaid Reform moves forward, disability advocates will continue to push to ensure reform recognizes the concerns of people with disabilities and continues to serve people with disabilities.

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