Court Blocks Expansion of Ill. Health-Care Program

     MT. VERNON, Ill. (CN) – The Illinois Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction to stop the expansion of Illinois’ health-care program, because the FamilyCare plan did not comply with federal welfare requirements.




     Taxpayer Richard Caro sued Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the state’s Department of Health Care and Family Services challenging the FamilyCare health plan, which is designed to include children who don’t have health insurance and also don’t qualify for Medicare.
     HCFS expanded the program in 2001 to include eligible adults. However, at the end of 2007, federal funding for both programs was starting to dry up.
     At that point, HCFS cited an emergency rule while announcing its plans to not only preserve the program but also to expand it to families who earn four times the federal poverty level ($84,000 for a family of four).
     Justice Smith upheld the district court’s injunction because the program did not comply with all of the requirements of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or federal welfare.
     These requirements include acceptance of employment; participation in educational and vocational programs; and acceptance of assignment to job search, training and work programs.
     Also, a recipient must not be behind on child support and must not have two or more convictions for public-aid fraud.
     “According to their own stipulations, defendants concede that the FamilyCare program does not require its participants to comply with these non-economic requirements necessary to receive assistance under TANF,” Smith ruled.

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