“Yesterday evening, the Illinois General Assembly passed House Bill 5007. This initiative will allow the federal government to consider the Cook County Medicaid Waiver that, if approved, will permit current patients of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System who will be eligible for Medicaid coverage in 2014 to enroll early in a Cook County Medicaid Network with absolutely no cost to the state of Illinois.
“These are patients that our health system treats today. By allowing them to enroll in a county Medicaid network prior to 2014, our health system will be able to access federal reimbursement for the costs of their care while transforming our health system into one that provides appropriate, coordinated and preventive care for their medical needs.
“If the federal government approves the Cook County Medicaid Waiver Proposal, Cook County residents who have an income below 133% of the federal poverty income threshold will be eligible to enroll in the county Medicaid network. For a two-person family, this means earning less than $20,123 per year. For a family of four, this means earning less than $30,657 per year.
“I want to thank Illinois General Assembly Leadership and Members of both parties who supported and voted for House Bill 5007. Without their understanding of the importance of allowing our patients in the county health system to enroll early in a county-supported Medicaid network, many of our health clinics would have closed and services in our hospitals would have been reduced.”
Although House Bill 5007 is contingent on the passage of other pending legislation, the bill now goes to Governor Quinn for his consideration. He is expected to sign this bill into law.
Cook County Health & Hospitals System CEO Dr. Ram Raju on House Bill 5007 also made the following statement: “Yesterday evening, the Illinois General Assembly passed House Bill 5007, an initiative that allows the federal government to consider the Cook County Medicaid Waiver. If the federal government grants this Waiver, we anticipate being able to enroll as many as nearly 100,000 patients who would remain within the Cook County Health and Hospitals System until 2014.
“I would like to thank President Toni Preckwinkle for her leadership and advocacy on this issue. It is in both the State’s and the County’s best financial interests to support our securing this Waiver.
“An 1115 Waiver is a mechanism under the Affordable Care Act whereby the federal government would allow the Cook County Health System to “early enroll” certain uninsured patients into Medicaid. Specifically, these are patients who are not currently eligible for Medicaid, but who will be eligible post 2014 under the Accountable Care Act. And, significantly, these are patients who are already being treated by our System without compensation.”