Medicaid Keeps Rural Illinois Families Afloat: Youth Service Bureau Joins Sen Durbin to Highlight Importance of Medicaid

June 8, 2017
Sophie Vodvarka
Communications Coordinator
svodvarka@icirr.org
(773) 294-4909

This morning, Sara Escatel, a client of ICIRR Member Organization Youth Service Bureau, joined Illinois Senator Dick Durbin on a tele-press conference which highlighted the necessity of preserving Medicaid, a program that has improved the lives of millions of families throughout Illinois.

"My daughter, Gisselle Escatel, is 20 years old and has Down’s Syndrome. She is non-verbal and functions at a very low cognitive level. Gisselle relies on Medicaid to cover her out-of-pocket expenses incurred through health and annual hearing evaluations required by her school. With the end of health coverage for dependents at the age of 26, my daughter would be left without medical coverage for the rest of her life if Medicaid is terminated. I feel that the elimination of Medicaid would hurt the most disadvantaged and the most vulnerable individuals like my daughter. In addition, disabled individuals like my daughter will find themselves at a larger disadvantage in life because they rely on us as parents to advocate for their basic needs. They will probably go without seeking health care services if access to Medicaid is no longer an option. In the end, the trickle-down effect will be more costly to all those involved," said Sara Escatel.

At a time when the federal government is proposing billions of dollars of cuts to healthcare funding, including Medicaid, Illinois residents, particularly in small towns, are coming together to make it clear that healthcare is a priority for their entire communities.  The facts are clear:

  • In Illinois, a larger share of children and families living in small towns and rural areas are enrolled in Medicaid than in urban areas of our state. About 42% of children in non-metro areas are covered by Medicaid and CHIP (All Kids) compared to 38% in metro areas. 
  • Between 2008 and 2015, the uninsured rate for children living in Illinois’s small towns and rural areas dropped from 4% to 3%. In the same timeframe, the uninsured rate for adults living in Illinois’s small towns and rural areas dropped too, from 17% to 8%. And Medicaid expansion was a big part of that success story, helping to connect more families in small towns and rural areas with the financial security and peace of mind that comes with health care coverage.
  • If Congress cuts Medicaid, it would have a disproportionate impact on rural areas of our state, since more children and families living in small towns and rural areas of Illinois rely on Medicaid and CHIP than in our metro areas.