2022 IL Spring Legislative Session Round-Up
The 2022 Spring Legislative Session of the Illinois General Assembly ended this past weekend. This year, session was shortened by nearly two months, but even so, a number of impactful bills for advancing health equity were passed!
- LGBTQ+ Aging Commission: Aging LGBTQ+ people face barriers to accessing affirming healthcare and social services. In order to address the unique needs of older LGBTQ+ adults, the Illinois General Assembly passed SB 3490, which creates the Illinois Commission on LGBTQ Aging. This Commission will analyze the health and social needs of LGBTQ+ adults and make recommendations to improve outcomes and access to benefits. SB 3490 also establishes an LGBTQ Older Adult Advocate within the Department on Aging and it requires training on LGBTQ+ cultural responsiveness for Department-funded elder service providers. Thank you to lead sponsors Senator Karina Villa and Representative Lakesia Collins for your help in passing this bill!
- PrEP in Pharmacies: HB 4430, also known as the Increasing Access to PrEP & PEP Act, gives pharmacists the ability to provide PrEP and PEP without a prescription. Pharmacists can also help to link people to follow-up primary care. HB 4430 will help to expand access to critical HIV prevention strategies, particularly for underserved and marginalized communities who are also disproportionately burdened by the HIV epidemic. Thank you to lead sponsors Representative Kelly Cassidy and Senator Mike Simmons for your advocacy and leadership!
- GTZ Omnibus Funding: The GTZ Omnibus Bill included $15 million in funding to address disparities in HIV care by increasing access to affordable housing, implementing HIV stigma reduction programs, increasing access to PrEP and PEP, and investing in Black- and Latinx-led community based organizations. The GTZ Omnibus Bill was added to and approved in HB900, the Illinois State Budget, with a $10 million dollar allocation. This is a historic investment in the ongoing fight end the HIV epidemic in Illinois. Thank you to our legislative champions: House Majority Leader Greg Harris, Senators Doris Turner and Mike Simmons, and Representatives Camille Lilly, Kelly Cassidy, Delia Ramirez and Lamont Robinson.
- Protecting 340B Savings: The Illinois General Assembly passed HB 4595, which puts in place protections that prevent insurers and pharmaceutical benefits managers for implementing discriminatory practices that jeopardize 340B savings for community health centers. At Howard Brown, the 340B program is vital to our operation and we use the savings to help fund and provide critical services that our patients rely on to stay healthy and thrive! Thank you to lead sponsors House Majority Leader Greg Harris and Senator Mattie Hunter for being community health center champions!
- Health Services for Survivors of Sexual Assault: The Illinois General Assembly passed SB 3023, which amends the Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act (SASETA) by extending the window for reimbursable care for those who have experienced sexual harm from 3 months to 6 months. This longer timeframe allows people to continue to receive care related to their sexual assault at a waived cost. SB 3023 also allows people who seek sexual assault services to waive their private insurance and bill to Medicaid if billing their private insurance would lead to safety concerns. Thank you to lead sponsors Representative Kelly Cassidy and Senator Julie Morrison for your advocacy for survivors of sexual assault.
- Diversifying the Healthcare Workforce: The Illinois General Assembly passed HB 4645, which establishes a new loan repayment program that prioritizes applicants who are underrepresented in the healthcare workforce. It also creates a new scholarship program to help cover the cost of enrollment and other expenses for people wanting to pursue education and training to become medical or dental assistants. Thank you to lead sponsors Representative LaToya Greenwood and Senator Mattie Hunter for your advocacy!
- Medicaid Omnibus Bill: The 2022 Medicaid Omnibus package contains several provisions that will improve health equity, such as: the addition of peer recovery support services to Medicaid, increased funding rates for dental services, required monitoring of coverage and billing requirements for substance use disorder and mental health services to identify disparities, and developing a Certified Nursing Assistant Intern Program to meet the workforce need for trained health care workers.
- Healthy Illinois for All: Recently, thanks to the work of the Healthy Illinois Campaign, Illinois began providing Medicaid-like coverage for undocumented people ages 55 and up. This session, the Health Illinois Campaign was successful in helping to extend that coverage to undocumented individuals ages 42-54! This will provide access to vital and affordable medical care for all Illinoisans and also help to improve equitable access to health care for undocumented people. This expansion goes into effect July 1, 2022.
Now that these important bills have passed through the Illinois General Assembly, we urge the Governor’s office to sign these bills into law!