Lawmakers consider expanding Medicaid

May 22, 2013

The Illinois House is advancing a measure that would significantly expand Illinois' health care for the poor. Under this legislation, Medicaid would for the first time cover adults who do not have children.Representative Sara Feigenholtz, a Democrat from Chicago, says in a way, we're already paying for these people's health care.

"This population has found a medical home through the sliding glass doors of an emergency room at a very, very high cost."

The federal government is paying for the entire expansion to start, but over several years that will decline to 90 percent. Republicans caution that could drop further, but Democrats say if that happens, Illinois could back-track on the expansion.

The legislation also includes some last-minute additions intended to benefit certain nursing homes including those that house mental-health patients. Critics say the changes would lead to a drop-off in quality of care. That prompted some Democrats who support expanding Medicaid to nevertheless withhold their support for this legislation.