Illinois General Assembly to convene for fall veto session.
The first of two weeks of the General Assembly’s fall veto session will begin on Tuesday, October 24. Lawmakers will consider not only Governor Pritzker’s vetoes of bills enacted in the spring session, but also new legislative business. As completely new legislation must be approved by a supermajority vote during veto session, minority Republicans could have a voice in any new legislation that moves forward.
The Illinois House has posted its veto session calendar online. The General Assembly will wrap up its veto session work on Thursday, November 9, the day before Veterans’ Day.
Cost of State health benefits for undocumented immigrants soars to $831 million.
The State of Illinois provides free healthcare benefits for undocumented immigrant adults ages 42 and up, as well as healthcare benefits for undocumented immigrant children. The taxpayer-funded health benefits program for undocumented immigrant seniors was enacted by Democrat supermajorities during the 2020 pandemic-shortened special session and was expanded in subsequent years to include immigrant adults ages 42-64.
Earlier this year, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) revealed that the estimated cost of Illinois’ healthcare benefits program for undocumented immigrants had ballooned to $1.1 billion. Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for any federal Medicaid match, resulting in State funds being used to pay for the entirety of services provided.
This week, the HFS announced a temporary pause on new enrollees in the Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors program, as the program hits its enrollment cap of 16,500 individuals.
However, HFS has still not implemented co-pays and other cost-sharing measures. It is unclear if the administration will be able to contain costs at the $550 million amount appropriated for the program. An analysis dated September 2023 from the HFS website shows the program is expected to cost $831 million in FY 2024, more than $280 million beyond the allocated amount. That estimate was based on total program enrollment of nearly 69,000 individuals.
Illinois taxpayers cannot afford to pay for free healthcare benefits for undocumented immigrants, especially at a time when healthcare costs for our own citizens continue to skyrocket.
A Glimmer of Hope for Invest in Kids Extension
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he would sign legislation extending Illinois’ Invest in Kids tax credit scholarship program.
“I will support it if it comes to my desk to extend the program in whatever form,” Pritzker said. “I mean, I can’t imagine it would show up in some form that I would be unwilling to. But again, the reality is that the legislature needs to go through this process.”
“I trust that when we return next week for Veto Session, the General Assembly will do the right thing for students, parents & our communities and make Invest In Kids permanent,” Rep. Brad Halbrook told The Center Square in a text. “This program has and is making a positive impact on our students all across our great state.”
My Office Can Help
As your state representative, my office is available to assist you with any issues you may have when interacting with a state agency. Please call our office to get help or schedule an appointment to see me or contact me at Halbrook@ilhousegop.org. Find more information and events on my website www.rephalbrook.com.
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