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Policy Update: Legal Council Advocacy Victories

May was a busy month for the legal experts here at Legal Council for Health Justice. When we weren’t serving and empowering low-income people with chronic illnesses or disabilities at over a dozen on-site clinics across the city, or suing the State of Illinois on behalf of thousands of Illinoisans wrongfully delayed or denied Medicaid coverage, OR leading advocacy efforts in the State Board of Education investigation into CPS’ special education program and procedural violations, our team was hard at work advocating for numerous policies across the State. Collaborative leadership with our phenomenal community partners made these legislative victories possible: SB 454, Enhancing Parent Participation in CPS Special Education: In the wake of a path-breaking inquiry into CPS’ special education policies and procedures that found significant violations to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Legal Council continued its work...

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Legal Council Advocates VS. CPS Special Education

After a public inquiry team, led by the Illinois State Board of Education, spent the last five months investigating Chicago Public Schools’ Special Education policies and practices and found significant and unnecessary delays and denials in services, the Board voted Wednesday to approve an independent monitor to oversee CPS as it works to implement changes. This news also comes after a survey crafted by Legal Council & other Special Education advocates identified devastating delays, denials and roadblocks in providing Special Education services to CPS students. More than 2,200 people responded to the survey, including teachers, parents, and school administrators. 45% of all survey respondents reported cases where students’ required aides were denied, due to “insufficient student data,” or a representative did not attend a meeting to finalize the student’s Individualized Education Plan–which is a violation of federal law. 95% of teachers and...

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Attorneys enforce Medicaid class action

Attorneys from Legal Council for Health Justice, the Shriver Center, and Sidley Austin LLP filed in court today on behalf of thousands of low-income people to enforce federal law and the State of Illinois’ agreement to process Medicaid applications in a timely fashion. The attorneys charge that the State is violating both federal law and an Illinois court order by significantly delaying Medicaid applications and denying residents access to health coverage. “The State of Illinois is clearly in violation of federal law and thousands of Illinoisans are suffering gravely because of it,” said Carrie Chapman, director of advocacy at Legal Council for Health Justice, one of the organizations that helped file the motion. “DHS must provide our clients with access to the care they need and are legally entitled to—we simply can’t wait any longer.” Illinois moved to a new computer system for...

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Stop Junk Insurance in Illinois

Quality and affordable health insurance should be available to every Illinoisan and every American citizen, full stop. Unfortunately, this notion is being challenged by pending federal regulations that could result in a large expansion of the number of short term plans offered to hardworking Illinoisans. Short term plans differ from other health insurance plans; their long lists of what is not covered leaves many consumers with expensive medical bills. Plans sold in Illinois can exclude coverage for preexisting conditions, prescription drugs, hospital room and board on a weekend, and treatment for mental and health or substance abuse disorders.

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Do No Harm to Illinois Health

As both Congress and the President continue to threaten the well-being of Illinoisans through cutting benefits, rolling back consumer protections, and restricting access to coverage, we must ensure protections at the state level to guarantee any attempt to restrict access to healthcare is open to public debate, oversight, and scrutiny.

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Press for Progress: International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day, Legal Council is celebrating all of the historic gains to women’s coverage won through the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion! With these expansive health policies, women now have greater access to maternity care, improved breast cancer care, and the guarantee that insurance companies cannot charge women more for coverage. Other gains for women’s coverage include: States that expanded Medicaid (including Illinois!) saw improved newborn outcomes, with significant decreases in infant mortality. (Newsweek, Jan. 31, 2018) Uninsured rate for women of reproductive age decreased. (Women’s Health Issues Journal, Feb. 28, 2018) Uninsured rate for women with gynecologic cancer decreased. (Gynecologic Oncology, June 2017) With lower costs, more women received mammogram screenings, improving the care and prevention of breast cancer. (Brown University, Jan. 17, 2018) Despite these gains, we also know that the fight for health justice...

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