Illinois Ranked Low in Providing Health Care to Poor

Sep 24, 2013

A new study gives Illinois low marks when it comes to providing health care for the poor.

The state-by-state scorecard released by the Commonwealth Fund ranks Illinois 36th in the nation in delivering health care services to low-income residents. The study pins the state's low ranking not on a lack of access, but on potentially avoidable hospital use.  Cathy Schoen is the senior vice president of the Commonwealth Fund. She says Illinois's ranking is pulled down by very high rates of use of the emergency room, of going into the hospital for complication of diabetes or at asthma, when it could potentially be prevented.
The study estimates that if Illinois matched the standards of the top-ranked state, Hawaii, almost 1 million more people would be insured, and nearly 200,000 more low-income adults would receive recommended care such as flu shots and mammograms.  Schoen says the implementation of Affordable Care Act will likely improve health care for those with lower incomes nationwide, likening it to the effect that Medicare had when it was introduced in 1965.