Progress in home care hinges on Supreme Court case

With the Supreme Court set to rule on Harris v. Quinn, a case that could limit the collective bargaining rights of 20,000 home care workers in Illinois, we wondered what difference union representation has made in their lives. It comes down to much better wages, health insurance, and professional training, longtime homecare workers told us. And across the board, they say, these improvements mean a higher quality of care for their clients, thousands of seniors and people with disabilities. In many cases it means people are able to stay in their own homes and live independently, rather than being forced in to nursing homes. That translates into huge savings for the state.

Public access to mental health care dealt another blow

Two years after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel shut down half of the city’s mental health clinics, the Mental Health Movement is charging that the city “is sabotaging its remaining services by refusing to serve people getting health benefits through the Affordable Care Act.” Tens of thousands of Chicagoans signed up for CountyCare, Cook County’s early rollout of ACA’s Medicaid expansion, but the city chose not to join the CountyCare network. A health department spokesman told the Tribune last month that current clients who enroll in Medicaid will be able to keep seeing their therapists. But a clinic staff member told me recently he’d been instructed not to accept CountyCare enrollees as new patients and to transfer patients who joined CountyCare to private providers. “The city is pushing people out and they’re not following up to see if they are getting care,” said N’Dana Carter of the MHM.

Many of Chicago’s uninsured Latinos could be covered under Obamacare

Eight in 10 uninsured Latinos qualify for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Chicago metropolitan area has among the highest concentration of uninsured Latinos in the nation, with nearly six in 10. There are about 288,000 uninsured Latinos in the city. Many of these Latinos could have some type of coverage under the Medicaid expansion and the health insurance market, which started last month as part of the Affordable Care Act. 
A third of uninsured Latinos — or about 3 million — are eligible for state-expanded Medicaid. Twenty-five states have opted out of the plan.