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What health reform means for the people of Illinois

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Affordable Care Act Will Not Replace Illinois Cares Rx

Illinois Cares Rx is one of the many health programs on the chopping block in Governor Quinn's Medicaid budget plan. This will affect 160,000 low income seniors and people with disabilities who receive Illinois Cares Rx to help them pay for life-saving medications, typically for chronic health conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, heart disease or Alzheimer’s.

There are no "good" choices when it comes to budget cuts in health & human services in Illinois - but it's critical for state legislators to separate the myths from the facts when decision time arrives. One of the myths being spread around is that Illinois Cares Rx can be cut because the Affordable Care Act will replace it in 2014.

Simply put, that is not true:
  • Illinois Cares Rx pays for Medicare Part D premiums; the Affordable Care Act will not.
  • Illinois Cares Rx covers Medicare Part D deductibles; the Affordable Care Act will not.
  • Illinois Cares Rx reduces the cost of medications when seniors and people with disabilities hit the "donut hole;" while the Affordable Care Act has begun to close the donut hole it will not completely close it until 2020.
See a full comparison chart here that shows what Illinois Cares Rx currently provides for low income seniors and people with disabilities and how it intersects with the Affordable Care Act. You can see that the overlap is minimal.

Please call your legislators and make sure that they have the facts about Illinois Cares Rx cuts which affects all districts in Illinois. Call 1-888-616-3322 which will connect you directly to your legislators and tell them to “Preserve Funding for Illinois Cares Rx.”

John Coburn
Senior Policy Attorney
Health & Disability Advocates

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