On the very same day that Governor Pat Quinn announced the enormous benefits to 468,000 Illinoisans of the Affordable Care Act in Illinois, a video surfaced that could further damage his Republican opponent Bruce Rauner. He said in the video that he would have blocked the Medicaid cash expansion in the state if he were governor, the Chicago Sun Times reported. Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf was contacted by Chicago Sun Times Spingfield reporter Dave McKinney and said that Medicaid was fraught with “fraud” and “abuse” and seemed to agree with Rauner’s assessment of the video.
McKinney asked Schrimpf if Rauner would reverse Quinn, but he “didn’t explicitly say if the candidate favored undoing Quinn’s expansion or keeping it in place.” The remarks on the video were made in front of a suburban Tea Party audience and the answer was meant as a “nod and a wink” to the these right-wing supporters of Rauner.
On two other occasions, reported the newspaper, Rauner dodged the question of whether he would have supported expanding Medicaid, or if he would stop Quinn’s expansion and stop the program. Ironically, President Obama will be in town this week to campaign and fundraise for Quinn.
But Quinn’s campaign Tuesday jumped on the Rauner video as further evidence that the governor’s GOP rival would cruelly imperil health care for everyone, who signed up under Illinois’ Medicaid expansion.
“Bruce Rauner’s heartless position means that 468,000 people in Illinois would not have healthcare coverage if he were in charge,” said Brooke Anderson, a Quinn campaign spokesperson.
“Just like Rauner’s other heartless proposals, like eliminating the minimum wage and slashing funding for public schools, Rauner’s plan to deny healthcare coverage to those who need it the most would hurt working families,” she said.
In addition to the 468,000 Illinoisans that benefited from Medicaid, Governor Quinn called the first year of the Affordable Care Act enrollment “successful” and said that more than 685,000 Illinoisans now have access to quality health coverage under President Barack Obama’s legacy legislation and benefited from the law. State officials are gearing up to ensure even more residents sign up for healthcare in year two of the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period, which begins Nov. 15.
“Thanks to the leadership of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, we have made health coverage a reality for hundreds of thousands of people across Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “Today, more than 685,000 people have access to healthcare who didn’t have it just one year ago. We have come a long way but we are not going to stop until everyone in Illinois has the quality care they deserve.”
According to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, 468,000 people have enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program under the ACA, more than double the state’s initial projections. Coupled with the 217,000 who enrolled in private health plans through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace, approximately 685,000 people have enrolled in health care as a result of the state’s aggressive enrollment efforts. The state’s Marketplace enrollment during the initial six-month enrollment period exceeded the federally established goal of 143,000 Marketplace enrollees by 52 percent.
“Get Covered Illinois” is in the process of training and preparing navigators for the second open enrollment period under the ACA, which will begin Nov. 15 and run through Feb. 15.
Governor Quinn made the announcement at Alivio Medical Center in Pilsen, one of the dozens of trusted community organizations across the state that is participating in the state’s In-Person Counselor (IPC) program. The federally-funded program establishes a network of “navigators” across the state whose job is to educate consumers about the financial assistance available under the ACA for those who qualify based on their income, and help them navigate through their healthcare options and enroll in a healthcare plan.
The Illinois Department of Public Health recently announced that 37 community organizations around the state, including Alivio, were selected through a rigorous application process to participate in year two of the IPC/navigator program.
“Alivio Medical Center is very proud to have the opportunity to serve our community for a second year by participating in “Get Covered Illinois” IPC program,” Alivio Medical Center’s CEO Esther Corpuz said. “We see families coming through our doors every day who remind us of the critical need for access to healthcare and the role it plays in allowing children and families to achieve their full potential in life.”