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More Illinois Children Have Insurance

Fri, 07 Mar 2014 10:09:32 CST

Low-income children in Illinois are getting better healthcare coverage. But a new study says racial and socioeconomic disparities still exist. Voices for Illinois Children cites the expansion of Medicaid, the state's health program for low-income individuals, as having the single biggest impact on the well-being of kids in poverty. Republicans and some Democrats in the General Assembly say Medicaid spending is unsustainable, and needs to be rolled back. Representative Robyn Gabel, a Democrat from Evanston, says those repeated calls to 'scrub' the Medicaid rolls are smoke in mirrors. She says efforts to kick people off the program as soon as they become ineligible ends up hurting people whose income hovers around the minimum threshold:

"So really it's an added burden we're putting on lower-income families. I don't think it's a big money saver, because I think the people who are the rolls who shouldn't be, aren't using it."

Illinois is in the process of scrubbing the Medicaid rolls. Gabel says many of the people who've been removed from the program lived out-of-state, and don't use medical services in Illinois, anyway. She says the best way to find more revenue for healthcare programs is to change Illinois income tax structure, to one that taxes people in higher income levels at a higher rate.

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