Pritzker quickly wields expanded authority to freeze non-citizens’ health care enrollment

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker speaks during a news conference at the Horace Mann Building in Springfield on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.

SPRINGFIELD Governor JB Pritzkers’ administration wasted no time last week in exercising the new authority granted by lawmakers to limit enrollment in a pair of state-funded health care programs for low-income noncitizens.

In a move that drew a sharp backlash from immigrant rights advocates, Pritzker signed House Bill 1298 on Friday, then immediately introduced emergency rules authorized by the law to temporarily suspend enrollment in the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults program at starting July 1st. years who would be eligible for Medicaid benefits based on income levels but not their citizenship status.

A similar program for non-citizens 65 and older, known as Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors, will remain open unless enrollment reaches 16,500, at which time it will also be suspended. As of June 7, there were 14,594 people enrolled in HBIS, according to the administration, which forecast in March that enrollment would increase to 21,000 in the next fiscal year.

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