Day 50 – Medicaid at 50: State Highlight: Illinois

Basics: Illinois Medicaid + CHIP covers 3.2 million people

Over the coming weeks this blog will highlight a key feature of Medicaid and the individual states that administer Medicaid leading up the the program’s 50th anniversary (July 30th). Hopefully, you’ll learn some interesting facts about Medicaid and each of the 51 state programs.

One of the lesser-known political activities of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is that he established the nation’s first universal coverage program for children. When it began in 2006, Illinois All Kids built on Medicaid and CHIP to offer coverage to all uninsured children, without limits on income, citizenship, or health status. (It’s kind of nice that we’re starting to forget how health status used to limit your chances of getting insurance.) Coverage was available on a sliding scale, depending on family income, and the state covered costs that were outside the scope of Medicaid and CHIP. Unfortunately, due to hard times with the state budget, there is now an income limit, but it’s still very inclusive. Today, 40% of children in the state are covered by Medicaid and only 4% of kids in Illinois are uninsured, half the national rate of 8%. Well done, All Kids!

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