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Misunderstanding Medicaid

A letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune to correct a misstatement about Medicaid, from our former executive director, Ann Hilton Fisher. I appreciated “Stakes High in State as Medicaid Retool Looms,” but want to correct a misleading impression left by Jonathan Ingram’s quote “people who gained coverage under Medicaid expansion have no disabilities keeping them away from the workforce or children to care for. It’s an issue of employment, not health insurance.” I am a volunteer tax-preparer at one of Chicago’s low-income tax preparation sites. Because of the Affordable Care Act, we now have to ask our clients about their health insurance. Last week I met three men who had recently gotten health insurance through the Medicaid expansion. All three had income of less than $15,000. One has worked full-time at a local convention center for five years,...

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Client Focus: Janae and William

When Janae gave birth to William, things didn’t go exactly as planned. William was born premature and needed a hernia surgery, but for some reason, Janae could not get him a medical card to pay for the hospital bills. She was also having trouble getting other public benefits to supplement her income. Through the help of her community health worker, Janae and William were referred to the Legal Council. After many phone calls, meetings, and much research, our legal staff discovered that because Janae was adopted, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was causing a roadblock with Medicaid and other public benefits. We helped Janae fill out paperwork, and through our combined efforts, Janae  was able to get a medical card, food stamps, and additional income through Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). While Janae works hard at...

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Age of consent

Legal Council for Health Justice continued its Medicaid advocacy yesterday. Executive director Tom Yates presented “An Explanation of Consent Decrees,” before Illinois General Assembly’s Senate Human Services Committee chair Daniel Biss and senators Julie Morrison, Melinda Bush, William Delgado, and Mattie Hunter.

In an update to our earlier work in court, Tom noted that two consent decrees and an order from Judge Joan Lefkow state unequivocally that Illinois must make Medicaid payments without interruption or delay, despite the budget impasse. Another Aug. 31 court order additionally requires that the state of Illinois must provide, before September 2, 2015, an accounting of all such payments .

But the state has yet to comply.

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Hip Hooray for Medicaid 1115 Waivers!

So dig this: as of January 1, 2013, certain people in Illinois will be able to get Medicaid without having to be “categorically eligible” (blind, disabled, pregnant, etc).  Why?  Because the feds just approved Illinois’s request for an 1115 Medicaid waiver. This fancy new Medicaid is called CountyCare, because it only covers medical services delivered through the Cook County Health & Hospital System and community providers who have agreed to be part of that network.   So who gets this Medicaid?  Well, here’s who. You are eligible for CountyCare if: You live in Cook County You’re between the ages of 19 and 64 Your income is at or below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level You’re not eligible for “regular” Medicaid (blind, disabled, pregnant, etc) You’re a US citizen of you’re a legal immigrant for at least five years You...

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