FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2023, 2023
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Pritzker Administration Clueless on Healthcare Costs for Illegals
“No one is telling the truth about how much this program will cost and the real problem is I don’t think the administration even knows how to figure that out. I have no confidence they can accurately track or control costs.” State Rep. Brad Halbrook
Shelbyville, Illinois: The new 2020 program that provides healthcare to non-citizens residing in Illinois was expected to cost only $2 million when first enacted. Originally for non-citizen, low-income seniors aged 65 and over, in the program’s first year, the cost was over $53 million. In FY 2022 and FY 2023 the legislature expanded the program to include non-citizens aged 42 and above and annual costs surged to over $141 million and over $594 million, respectively.
Early this Spring, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services estimated costs for FY 2024 could reach $1.1 billion. To constrain costs, Democrats decided to budget only $550 million and allow the Pritzker administration to cap program spending through emergency rulemaking, including freezing and capping enrollment and requiring co-pays for services and medicine.
Last week at a hearing on this subject by the Joint Committee on Rules (JCAR), information presented at the hearing and information provided by Republican staff from HHS, contradicts previous cost estimates. While membership will be frozen and capped, no current person in the program will be kicked out of the program according to HHS and the senior program will be allowed to grow to a maximum of 16,500 participants, up from 14,414 in FY 2023. Considering that the program cost nearly $600 million last year, and they are allowing for growth in the senior program, the administration must be expecting current enrollees to drop out or co-pays to make up the difference. That seems unlikely and no one at HHS is explaining with any detail how they will keep within the $550 million.
State Rep. Brad Halbrook responded, “I have been back and forth with staff for a week trying to get accurate numbers on this ballooning program. No one can give me a straight answer. No one is telling the truth about how much this program will cost and the real problem is I don’t think the administration even knows how to figure that out. I have no confidence they can accurately track or control costs. This is an expensive program and the entire cost falls on Illinois taxpayers, the federal government picks up no costs for non-citizens in this regard. Our sanctuary state policies are creating an incentive for illegals to reside here and our generosity is being abused. This is just one of many costs to our state for people whose first act in this country was to break the law.”