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Quinn Signs Medicaid Expansion Into Law

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Updated July 23 9:01 a.m. with reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky

Illinois is beginning to implement the Affordable Care Act.  The Governor signed a major component of it into law Monday.

Government backed health insurance is available to seniors; Medicare kicks in at age 65.

And Medicaid's available to low-income children, and their parents.

The new law will extend Medicaid to childless adults with incomes under $16,000.

State Senator Heather Steans, the Chicago Democrat who sponsored the legislation.

"When we had looked at who's eligible for this expansion, it hits every single part of the state," Steans said. "Obviously individuals who are low-income.  And hospitals in every part of the state are going to benefit from now getting insurance coverage and getting folks into preventative care rather than just showing up in the emergency rooms."

Cook County did get an early start with Medicaid expansion through a pilot program.

But signups begin statewide October 1.

That's also when people who are above 138-percent of the poverty line and don't already have insurance can begin shopping for health care coverage on what's known as the "marketplace" or the "exchange.

Illinois recently hired a PR firm to begin promoting it, and several dozen agencies received grants to educate potential enrollees. 

Missouri has not agreed to expand Medicaid.

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