(The Center Square) – Illinois’ new budget includes rate increases for Medicaid and better access to health care for the state’s undocumented immigrants.
The state budget and budget implementation bills were among the final bills the legislature passed before adjourning early Saturday morning. Another bill, Senate Bill 1298, is an all encompassing measure impacting the state’s Medicaid spending.
State Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, discussed some of the rate increases that will be coming through the passage of this measure.
“A rate increase for supported living facilities, a rate increase for federally qualified health centers, and a rate increase for care for medically fragile technologically dependent children and their full-time nurses,” Gabel said.
The rate increases will cost the state an extra $317 million.
The measure received support from Republican lawmakers, including state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Cherry Valley. However, there were questions about how this could affect hospitals that may need more reimbursement that is being allotted.
“This does address some of the needs that we have here,” Syverson said. “It may be an inconvenient truth, but clearly, one of the biggest groups that are going to be hurt by this budget and by this measure is the hospitals.”
Another provision in the bill is one that provides undocumented migrants with health care. This has been a hot-button issue among lawmakers as the state has seen an influx of migrants arriving from Texas this year.
Earlier this month, Syverson said that undocumented migrants should not be the lone responsibility of Illinois taxpayers. The federal government should step up.
“If they are going to keep the border open, then they should be paying for those costs, not asking Illinois taxpayers to put aside programs for the disabled, seniors and our own residents to provide high-quality health care for people from other countries,” Syverson said.
Illinois does not expect any federal matching funds for subsidizing undocumented migrant health care costs.
State Sen. Celina Villanueva, D-Chicago, spoke in support of the subsidies in the omnibus bill, saying that undocumented migrants in Illinois are taxpayers and deserve health care.
“They pay taxes regardless of whether they have a social security number or not,” said Villanueva. “They pay taxes.”
A recent audit estimated the cost of the subsidies for migrant health care could me more than $1 billion. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the budget plan will give him the tools to implement cost savings for the program through things like copays.
The next budget year begins July 1.