SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Aaron Ortiz, D-Chicago, is laying the groundwork for a state health care for all program by introducing legislation to study the feasibility of creating a Medicaid buy-in program. Ortiz’s push for Medicaid for All would allow Illinois working families the ability to purchase affordable health care plans through Medicaid rather than relying solely on the options offered by private insurance companies.
“Private health insurance companies only care about one thing: profits,” Ortiz said. “Health care is a human right and this legislation will help us determine how we expand access to affordable health care coverage to every Illinois resident.”
Ortiz introduced House Joint Resolution 105, which creates the Medicaid Buy-In Task Force to study the feasibility of establishing a Medicaid buy-in program in Illinois. In the absence of federal legislation to ensure working families have access to affordable health care coverage and Donald Trump’s continued attacks on the Affordable Care Act, plans to expand access to Medicaid have gained ground at the state level. Under a buy-in program, Medicaid plans would be offered on the state’s insurance marketplace, giving access to people who don’t traditionally qualify for Medicaid but don’t necessarily make enough to be able to purchase private health insurance.
Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon and New Mexico have published reports on how a buy-in program would look like if implemented in their states. Legislation was introduced in New Mexico soon after their report was published, and in 2017, a “Medicaid-for-all” bill made it as far as the governor’s desk in Nevada, but was ultimately vetoed by its Republican governor.
“We should all be angry that in the wealthiest country in the world, roughly 45,000 people die every year because they’re uninsured,” Ortiz said. “Making sure that every person is able to go the doctor when they’re sick, regardless of their income, shouldn’t be a radical idea, so I look forward to having a productive conversation on this legislation.”