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What health reform means for the people of Illinois

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Policy to the People - Illinois Policymakers Weigh In about ACA Implementation in Illinois

Health care reform in Illinois may originate from the federal law, the Affordable Care Act, but it is up to each state to implement many pieces of the law. For that reason, we made Illinois' implementation of health care reform the focus of our latest multimedia Neighborhood Stories series. The video, Policy to the People (by Jay Dunn) is the third in our series, and is accompanied by an article, Making Health the Best Policy (by Jeff Steele).

As health reform policies take shape in Illinois, it is important to make sure they benefit the citizens of the state. In the video, Senator Donne E. Trotter (IL -17th District) explains what he sees as necessary to keep policy geared towards the people, specifically those who are currently uninsured or underinsured. He advocates a “three pronged attack,” that involves policymakers, medical care providers and the citizens and health care consumers themselves, in the establishment of reform. “What we’re looking at,” Sen. Trotter explains, “is not as much what this law is going to do for people like myself, but for the future of America. We’re going to have a healthier society.”

The accompanying article, Making Health the Best Policy, explains the steps that Illinois policymakers have taken since 2010 to establish health care reforms right here in the Prairie State. Those who back the Affordable Care Act are attempting to impart positive messages, to counter the law's opponents working daily to ensure its provisions never go into effect.

We spoke to key policymakers in the Governor's Office, the Department of Health & Family Services (HFS) and the Illinois General Assembly about their vision of how reform will impact west and south siders' ability to gain insurance. Under the new health care law, HFS Director Julie Hamos says: “We believe there will be one million more people who will have access to private health insurance through the exchange, or public insurance through Medicaid...These are people who have not had a doctor, or a health checkup, in many years.” Michael Gelder, Governor Quinn's senior health policy advisor and Chair of the Illinois Health Care Reform Implementation Council says, “People on the west and south sides should see this as an opportunity to get health insurance. They should also see it as an opportunity to make their elected representatives, both federal and state, hear that they’re enthusiastic about [reform], and that they expect us to deliver on that.”

Check out these two great new pieces, as well as the other articles and videos in the Neighborhood Stories section of the Illinois Health Matters website, or on our new high quality Vimeo channel here. Stay tuned for the next installment where we look at how the Affordable Care Act is impacting local community organizations.

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