Local Opinion

Illinois Medicaid Coverage Should Be Extended To All Low Income Citizens

By Mimi Ko | Friday, December 14, 2012

As a fitness trainer in Roscoe Village, my average day can include any of the following: making people throw up, having them run down the street carrying heavy objects, helping them accomplish what they don’t think is possible. In my profession, I get to witness on an everyday basis the importance of preventative, rather than reactive, healthcare. Preventative means getting into a regular fitness regimen before being diagnosed with a scary medical condition. Reactive means procrastinating until no amount of pushups and squats are able to counteract that condition.

It is with this preventative mindset that I advocate in favor of HB 6253, which extends Medicaid coverage to low-income Illinois residents who are now eligible under the federal Affordable Care Act. HB 6253 makes ALL low-income adults eligible for Illinois Medicaid. Currently, only low-income children, seniors, pregnant women, and disabled individuals are covered. Most of the individuals who would benefit from this coverage are working, but not in jobs that provide health care benefits. The federal government has agreed to pay 100% of the cost through 2016, and 90% thereafter. This means that extra coverage for these Illinoisans will have very little additional cost to the state.

Expanded Medicaid means more preventative visits to the doctor and less trips to the ER when a previously treatable condition becomes out-of-hand. It means more Medicaid dollars into Illinois and less cost to privately-insured individuals who are increasingly picking up the burden for the uninsured. It means a healthier population at-large. It’s similar to approaching nutrition and exercise with foresight rather than hindsight. It’s preventative, not reactive. And it is something that I would wish for all of my clients- and for all the citizens of Illinois.

Mimi Ko

Fitness Trainer, Roscoe Village

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