The Healthy Illinois Campaign is an effort to provide quality, affordable healthcare coverage to all people in Illinois, regardless of immigration status. In 2020, Healthy Illinois organized to support the Health Benefits of Immigrant Seniors (HBIS) legislation which allows health coverage for seniors ages 65+, regardless of immigration status. In 2021, Healthy Illinois made history again by organizing to support the Healthy Benefits for Immigrant Adults (HBIA) legislative piece that allowed those benefits to extend to adults age 55-64 and which was further expanded to adults from the ages of 42-54 in 2022. With the goal of making this program available for those between the ages of 19-41, the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), along with many other partner organizations, has pushed to spread the word of healthcare being a human right and highlighting the stories of those directly impacted by the lack of healthcare opportunities.
On June 16th, 2023, Governor Pritzker made the decision to pause enrollment for HBIA and brought about the introduction of co-pays to the program. Although the co-pay arrangement has since been reversed, new low-income community members still cannot join HBIA, despite how desperately it is needed. On September 22nd, 2023, SWOP and many other Healthy Illinois partners made their way to the Federal Plaza to rally for reinstatement of this important program. With a large influx of black and brown communities and elected officials gathering to show their support and make their voices heard, Healthy Illinois demonstrated the power they hold.
This action is still only a step in the process to regain the reopening of HBIA to low-income communities and every organization associated with Healthy Illinois has expressed the willingness to continue the fight. Until “Healthcare is a human is right” is fully acknowledged and laws are fixed to help change the system that has disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities, the fight will continue.