Organizations advocate for Quinn to implement health care changes

The landmark Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare, last month has had ripple effects at the state level. Local health organizations are hoping to see the stipulations of the ACA put into place sooner rather than later.

One hundred and nine local organizations and small businesses have signed a letter addressed to Gov. Pat Quinn, asking him to use the privilege of executive order to get a health exchange set up in Illinois as soon as possible.

The Campaign for Better Health Care in Champaign (CHBC) is one of the organizations that has been at the forefront of this fight to get state-run health insurance up and running.

The Campaign for Better Health Care is asking advocates to contact the offices of their representatives, senators and Gov. Quinn to call for the creation of an Illinois health care marketplace.

The message they are asking people to leave for these elected officials is clear: “Let Gov. Quinn know the waiting is over. It is time to take action now by signing an executive order creating a pro-consumer health care marketplace for Illinois!”

Caroline Yoo, senior in LAS and intern for the Campaign for Better Health Care, has been working with the CBHC to advocate for change in Illinois’s health care system.

“Our mission is that everyone deserves access to health care,” Yoo said. “We believe it should be accessible and affordable and that it is a human right.”

Yoo explained why setting up an Illinois health exchange soon is crucial to the success of their mission.

“We’re working hard to make sure that people in Illinois can get the care they need,” Yoo said. “We’re pushing for a health care exchange to be set up soon because we know people are going to benefit from having this option.”

Engaging members in the community is a big part of the CBHC.

“Our organization is a coalition of so many other organizations that want to see people in Illinois have the right to health care,” Yoo said. “The support of others that have the same mission as we do is what makes it possible to make changes.”

Under the ACA, states will need to set up a health exchange by Jan. 1, 2014. The letter that over 100 organizations sent to Gov. Quinn is calling for the state to set up a health exchange before this date by means of an executive order.

The General Assembly could not decide on a plan to develop a health exchange when session ended in May. Local organizations are anxiously waiting to hear how the state will decide to move forward with setting up an exchange.

Local nonprofits and health education organizations in the community would like to see action on this issue.

Cloydia Hill Larimore, vice president of Advancement for the Cunningham Children’s Home in Urbana, works with young people with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Her job allows her to interact with a wide range of families and individuals in the community. Larimore knows how helpful the health exchange will be for these families in Illinois.

“We know how important this issue is for families and children,” Larimore said. “The children who live in our facilities have access to health care, but we need to make sure it stays that way.”

The state is under fiscal constraints, but Larimore does not think health should be at the expense of these monetary concerns.

“The health care situation is very complicated, and we appreciate the extreme financial distress the state is in,” Larimore said. “But health care issues should be a top priority.”

According to Larimore, the state has done well addressing child health care issues, but there is still more to be done.

“Anything we can do to help more quickly resolve all these issues so that our kids are not without health care is great,” Larimore said. “It’s a great concern of ours that this health care is adequate and that we figure out how to move forward soon.”

With the upcoming presidential election and the recent Supreme Court ruling, this issue will be high on the list for Illinois officials when session resumes later this year.