Cost of healthcare program for non-citizens, illegal immigrants in Illinois skyrockets

It looks like Illinois Governor JB Pritzker slightly underestimated the cost to his state’s taxpayers of providing health care coverage to illegal migrants and other non-citizens.

Instead of the $220 million Pritzker originally set aside for the health care program, which offers state-funded care to those immigrants over the age of 42 whose citizenship status prevents them from qualifying for Medicaid, Illinois will need to come up with an extra $880 million, for a total of a whopping $1.1 billion to pay for the handouts.

Those covered under the program include individuals “who are here legally on a green card for fewer than five years, and illegal immigrants,” Fox News Digital reports. “The state began providing Medicaid-like benefits to those 65 and over in 2020 and expanded it to those 42 and over last year.”

The current-year expenditures for the program were also estimated to tally $220 million, but, according to the State Journal-Register, “it has cost over $400 million thus far with two months to go in the fiscal year.”


Testifying before a Senate appropriations committee on Wednesday night, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IDHFS) Chief of Staff Ben Winick explained that the original estimate was reached after the department checked the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data to see how many would be eligible for the program and came up with a percentage they assumed would register for it.

They underestimated both the number of potential enrollees and how much it would actually cost to provide them with the promised care.

“Because of the unreliability of that data, the projections for enrollment are really just focused on month-over-month growth based on the trends that we’re seeing and not tied to the universe of eligibles,” Winick said.

Currently, roughly 56,000 people are covered under the program, but, under the revised projections which are now based on the state’s month-over-month 10 percent growth rate, they believe they could see more than 120,000 enrollees in Fiscal Year 2024 — up from the 98,500 they’d previously projected.

As BizPac Review has reported, Chicago’s outgoing mayor, Lori Lightfoot, begged Texas Governor Greg Abbott to stop busing migrants to her “sanctuary” town, claiming that “the responsibility of caring for more than 8,000 men, women, and children with no resources of their own” is overwhelming the Windy City.

“We simply have no more shelters, spaces, or resources to accommodate an increase of individuals at this level, with little coordination or care, that does not pose a risk to them or others,” Lightfoot argued.

But, shockingly, state Sen. Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) proposed to the same committee an expansion to the healthcare program that would cover noncitizens over the age of 19, the State Journal-Register reports. According to IDHFS estimates, that would add another $380 million to the taxpayers’ bill.

Meanwhile, Republicans in the state are calling for a moratorium on new enrollments into the program, according to Fox News Digital.

According to a spokesperson for Governor Pritzker, his administration is working with the General Assembly to find a way forward for the initiative.

“Every balanced budget that has passed is negotiated with the General Assembly and includes priorities the governor lays out in his budget address and the priorities of lawmakers in the General Assembly…” Pritzker’s office said. “As the program was implemented and real costs were calculated it became clear the program was going to cost much more than what the advocates had predicted.”


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