CHICAGO – Fighting for equal access to comprehensive, affordable healthcare for all, state Rep. Delia Ramirez, D-Chicago, championed House Bill 4891, in collaboration with Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, who introduced Senate Bill 3733, Healthy Illinois for All, to expand access to state health coverage for undocumented persons in Illinois. While these proposals were not considered during the emergency legislative session, language from this bill was included in the state’s budget implementation plan (HB357) to expand Medicaid coverage to undocumented seniors. This expansion was signed into law by Governor Pritzker on June 10, 2020.
“Healthcare access needs to be recognized as a human right that should be guaranteed to all regardless of immigration status. This unprecedented health crisis has proven the ways in which public health binds us all together and denying healthcare to some hurts us all,” Ramirez said. “We must stand up for those in our community who continue to face unjust and cruel barriers in our healthcare system and beyond. Every human being is worthy and deserving of access to life-saving medical care.”
The state’s budget implementation plan, BIMP, includes language from House Bill 4891 as well as Senate Bill 3703, and will create a pathway to health coverage for all low-income Illinois residents aged 65 and older, with household incomes of up to 100% FPL ($12,760 for an individual) regardless of their immigration status. In doing so, Illinois took a critical first step toward expanding health care coverage to all undocumented, uninsured Illinoisans. This approach will continue Illinois’ leadership by being the first state in the nation to provide Medicaid-like coverage to undocumented seniors.
“While this is a critical step forward on the path toward ensuring equal access to healthcare for all, we must continue to push for a more equitable healthcare system that truly recognizes and affirms the humanity of our immigrant communities,” Ramirez added. “I am proud that we have taken this important first step to care for our most vulnerable and will continue to work toward universal healthcare for all.”