CHICAGO — Illinois children’s advocates are pushing the U.S. Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act, after it was passed by the House last month.
They say it would improve Medicaid and CHIP, the federal children’s health insurance program, by providing 12 months of continued coverage to eligible children and making federal CHIP funding permanent.
Stephanie Altman, director of healthcare justice and senior director of policy at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, said Illinois already has 12 months of permanent coverage. However, she added, permanent funding for CHIP, along with lower premiums on plans under the Affordable Care Act, would make a big difference for Illinois families. She said the need was highlighted during the special COVID registration period.
“We had 54,000 people enrolled in the health insurance market during that time,” she said, “probably due to job loss and loss of health insurance, and of the need to enter the market, but also because there was more generous premium coverage.”
Altman said Build Back Better policies, from affordable child care to expanding the child tax credit, would help families ensure children’s basic needs are met. Opponents of the budget bill say it is too costly.
Build Back Better would also cover a person for 12 months postpartum, a policy already in place in Illinois. In a new memoir from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, co-author Joan Alker, research professor at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy and executive director of its Center for Children and Families , said postpartum coverage for mothers improves outcomes for their children. as well as. During the Trump years, she noted, one in 10 children nationwide experienced a gap in coverage.
“After seeing this troubling setback in the progress we had made as a country to reduce the number of uninsured children, that stopped in 2017 and started to go in the wrong direction,” she said. stated, “The Build Back Better Bill would be a real game-changer and start moving the country in the right direction.”
In Illinois, children in families of three earning up to about $69,000 a year are eligible for affordable health coverage through Medicaid and the state’s CHIP program, “Illinois All Kids.”
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