Before leaving office Monday, former Gov. Pat Quinn announced $400 million in federal Affordable Care Act funding for hospitals across Illinois.
Quinn traveled to Washington, D.C., last month to personally advocate for the funding, which will help cover the cost of health care for more than 500,000 people. In addition, Quinn issued two executive orders that fight pregnancy discrimination and ensure the state continues to enroll individuals in the health care marketplace.
“These new federal funds will help hospitals across Illinois as they provide critically needed care for the more than half a million people who are now covered by the Affordable Care Act,” Quinn said. “I am also signing two executive orders today that will protect pregnant women in the workplace and ensure Illinois continues its work to enroll people in the Affordable Care Act.”
“We thank the Obama Administration and our federal counterparts for bringing the negotiations that made these payments possible to a favorable conclusion,” Illinois Department of Healthcare and Families Services (HFS) Director Julie Hamos said. “We are very excited for our partners in the hospital community. HFS expects payments to begin in mid-February, with initial payments to include retroactive amounts due.”
The funding was the direct result of bipartisan passage of Senate Bill 741, which Quinn signed into law earlier this year. The agreement with federal health care officials allows HFS to increase hospital inpatient and outpatient supplemental payments by $400 million in the current fiscal year to recognize new hospital volume for beneficiaries newly enrolled under the ACA.
Illinois has enrolled more than 800,000 people in health care coverage as a result of the ACA through the efforts of Get Covered Illinois. To date, more than 536,000 people have enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program under the ACA. An additional 217,000 people were enrolled in the first year of the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. With enrollment for year two of the Marketplace under way, more than 121,000 people have enrolled or re-enrolled in a health care plan in the first month of enrollment through Dec. 15.
In addition, Quinn issued an executive order to ensure that the state fully complies with the landmark pregnancy discrimination law he proposed, passed and signed into law last year. The order requires state agencies to conduct a comprehensive review within 30 days to determine if their internal policies fully comply with the new law. If any problems are found, the policies are required to be rewritten within 60 days.
Quinn also issued an executive order to ensure that the state continues enrollment in the federally facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The order requires data be issued weekly to a public website to reflect progress by the state in the enrollment process. The order also requires the HFS to distribute a robust plan to promote enrollment in the ACA and Medicaid coverage, especially focusing on people of low-income and people with disabilities.