Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law Monday to expand the state's Medicaid system and provide health care coverage to more Illinoisans.
Quinn made it official at the University of Illinois Chicago's medical facilities. The governor is a longtime supporter and says it'll give many Illinoisans access to quality health care. Quinn says he wanted to sign it into law before President Obama visits his home state this week.
Senator Heather Steans sponsored the legislation and says it will provide thousands of people with coverage they otherwise couldn't afford. The federal government will pick up the tab for the program for the first three years with the state's share phased in over time. Up to half a million uninsured will be newly eligible for coverage.
Under the plan, up to 342,000 residents are expected to enroll by 2017.
Enrollment begins in October. Coverage kicks in January first. That's the same timeline for the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses will be able to compare health care policies and premiums and purchase comprehensive health coverage.
Some Republicans say they're worried about sustainability.