Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

A recent study completed by the Illinois Rural Health Summit Planning Committee found that 1.5 million Illinoisans who live in rural parts of Illinois struggle to maintain "healthy, active, and productives lives." 

Are Illinois residents able to readily and fairly access healthcare and education? Is there equal opportunity for economic growth?

Explore these topics and more with NPR Illinois at the Election 2018: Seeking Solutions Forum in Carbondale, Illinois at The Varsity Center. The forum is August 30th with light refreshments being served at 5:30 PM and the discussion beginning at 6.

The panelists will be answering questions from the moderator and from the audience during the one-hour question and answer forum. 

Affordable Care Act Enrollment Deadline December 15

Nov 29, 2017
U.S. Capitol Building illustration
Illinois Newsroom RJC

Open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act ends Dec. 15 in Illinois. There’s confusion around this year’s sign up, due in part to the shorter enrollment period. Here are six things you should know.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s new rules restricting overtime pay for home health aids passed a major test Tuesday. Starting August 1, caretakers will be limited to a 45-hour work-week. If people require more care, they’ll have to find an additional worker.

Local health departments are responsible for everything from restaurant inspections, regulating private sewage systems and water wells and investigating disease outbreaks -- all services that are threatened, as they await for state money to come through.

The Capitol
Brian Mackey/WUIS

  Advocates for people with disabilities say they're worried Governor Pat Quinn's newest healthcare initiative would crowd out certain groups.

The governor's proposal would consolidate nine separate programs that serve people with disabilities. Michael Gelder, the governor's senior advisor on healthcare, says centralizing these programs would be more efficient.

Busy First Day For Illinois Health Exchange

Oct 1, 2013

More than 69,000 people visited Illinois' new health insurance marketplace by late Tuesday, the first opportunity to comparison shop for
coverage through a system that's a key piece of President Barack Obama's signature health care law. But people hoping to enroll weren't getting much further, as the federally run website experienced glitches and delays.
 At a health center on Chicago's west side, workers said their goal for the day
was to get just one person enrolled, but none of the people who came in were

Health Law Could Reduce Incarceration Rates

Oct 1, 2013

Tuesday marks the launch of state health insurance exchanges, a major part of the Affordable Care Act. Among the many changes likely after the new health coverage takes effect: Fewer people behind bars.

During a recent expo put on by the Illinois Department of Corrections in Champaign, Jeff Rinderle of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District talked with parolees and former prison inmates transitioning into civilian life about the Affordable Care Act.

Illinois To Launch Obamacare Ad Campaign

Sep 30, 2013

Illinois will launch an advertising campaign Tuesday to inform Illinois residents about the health insurance marketplace opening that day that will connect people with new benefits under President Barack Obama's health care law.  
Marketplace spokeswoman Kelly Sullivan provided copies of the ads to The Associated Press. She says the Get Covered Illinois campaign will begin with newspaper ads in 50 state markets. Radio and TV ads are planned for later this fall.  


  Although the grand opening of the Affordable Care Act is only a week away, Illinois is still waiting on the federal government to approve the insurance plans that will be available through it.  Even so, the governor today announced it will cost less to get coverage than originally expected.

Illinois submitted 165 different insurance plans to the federal government. Until the feds sign off on them, it's impossible for someone looking to buy insurance from the Obamacare "marketplace" to know how much they should plan to spend.

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Is the glass half full or half empty? In Illinois these days, the optimist might be tempted to say that while the glass is still half full, it's also leaking its noisome contents through that crack down its side. 


The job of a school nurse is changing. More students suffer from complicated medical problems related to asthma, diabetes and obesity. And more health symptoms are showing up that may be rooted in emotional stressors, including a troubled home life, a drug problem or a behavior disorder. So, with an eye to preventive care, school administrators are looking for new ways to serve adolescents who are most vulnerable to health risks. 

Bethany Jaeger
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The rules for how much charitable care nonprofit hospitals must provide to get a tax break could change in this legislative session.

Not many businesses would provide a service without expecting payment in return.

Hospitals often do that. If a woman in labor rushes into the emergency room, staff cares for her and the baby regardless of the family's ability to pay.

Glitches can be expected when 42 million people become eligible for a government-subsidized prescription drug program. So no one was surprised that there were plenty as the new national effort got under way. 

Illinois officials, in fact, expected some snags as it cast an additional safety net to help the poorest seniors and disabled people pay for their drugs. Despite the best intentions, however, the state hit some unexpected snarls, too. And more knots are sure to surface as the state and federal drug programs are reshaped.

Bethany Jaeger
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Consumers want options when it comes to affordable health care. There are plenty under the federal government's new prescription drug insurance program, though there may be too many. And those options might not be the ones consumers want.

But if frustration prevents older and disabled Illinoisans from signing up for a Medicare Part D plan in the next few weeks, they may have fewer options in the near future.

Heart rates are up at the Capitol over what some call a “crisis” in the state’s health care system. 

Lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle say medical malpractice insurance costs are rising at alarming rates, driving doctors out of state and leaving patients with fewer options. So far, more than 100 measures on this issue are in play, and legislators from both chambers have begun meeting to negotiate a bipartisan proposal that might win approval in this politically charged election year. 

Medical Problems Reported by State Inmates
2001 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, based on a 1997 survey

Picture a pristine waiting room with two patients lying quietly on cots. Next door, a doctor checks someone who has a sore throat, while a nurse treats a man who complains of stomach pains. Just down the hall, patients file in and out of a dentist's chair for regular checkups.

Mike Cramer

Did Illinois push so hard to enroll children in KidCare that it broke the Medicaid budget?

Medicaid expenditures ran $60 million over budget last fiscal year, and were headed for nearly triple that amount this fiscal year if the Illinois Department of Public Aid hadn't applied the brakes.

Gov. George Ryan and outgoing public aid Director Ann Patia worked out a package of cuts that hit pharmacies and hospitals that treat Medicaid patients.

Did KidCare cause the shortfall?

No, it didn't, Patia says emphatically.

Care worker Patty Bradburn works with a resident of the Lincoln Developmental Center.
Mark Pokempner

Sylvia Twardowski can expect to make about $28,000 this year as a caregiver for Illinoisans who are developmentally disabled. It's not a bad living. Except that she'll have to work 72 hours a week at three different jobs to achieve it.

"I have no life. Look at what it is costing me," the LaSalle woman says.