IMCHC Maternal & Child Health News Banner
March 21, 2012

Executive Director Note TitleJanine H. Lewis photo

Dear Colleagues,

For the past two years, March has been a flurry of activities and brings a spirit of celebration to our offices as we commemorate the anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act.  The ACA has already changed the landscape of health care in Illinois, and serves as a promise for additional services to become available to marginalized populations.  For example, currently young people can stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26.  In August 2012, additional preventive services such as annual visits, birth control, and breastfeeding support services will also be provided to women at no additional cost.  And in 2014, businesses and individuals will be able to purchase insurance in a competitive health insurance marketplace called the Exchange.

One of my mother’s closest friends is currently uninsured, and does not have the resources to enroll in private insurance and does not qualify for public insurance coverage.   In 2014, however, she will be newly eligible for Medicaid, along with an estimated 600,000 Illinoisans.   At IMCHC, we truly believe that access to high-quality health care is a basic human right, and we applaud efforts to increase coverage for all.


Janine Lewis signature
Janine Lewis
Executive Director


Federal Update Title

Learn more about the ACAEducating consumers on health reform

This year, it is more important than ever that we educate people on health reform, which is already benefiting millions of Americans by providing access to quality health coverage and reducing costs.

As the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act approaches, it is still very much in the public consciousness. Most notably, the Supreme Court is preparing to hear challenges to the ACA and the law has taken a prominent place in the rhetoric of the 2012 Presidential election.

IMCHC has supported our partners and members by creating resources that make it easier to understand the real impact of the ACA and educate our field of the numerous benefits to the community since the law passed in 2010. We have created a number of resources that can be found on the health reform section of our website, including:

  • Provider Toolkit on the Affordable Care Act,
  • Podcast on the ACA and young adults, and
  • Fact sheets on the benefits for particular populations

Additionally, IMCHC staff are available to conduct presentations on the ACA for your organization free of charge. If you would like to schedule a presentation or have questions about the law, please contact Kathy Chan.


woman with microphone image

Speak Out for Health Reform

TONIGHT, March 21, from 5:30-7:00pm IMCHC is hosting our Speak Out for Health Reform event in Englewood. This will be an opportunity for community members to share their stories of health reform success with their neighbors, community, and the media. If you are interested in attending or would like to share with clients/patients, please contact Kathy Waligora (312-491-8161 x29)


LLAW clipart

The Illinois Maternal & Child Health Coalition (IMCHC) is now accepting nominations for the Loretta Lacey MCH Advocacy Awards!

Please choose a category: Researcher, Community Advocate, or Health Care Provider

The deadline is April 2nd, click here for the nomination form.


The Illinois Coalition for School Health Centers is accepting nominations for the 2012 Outstanding Leadership Award!

This is an opportunity to acknowledge a leader or program that has excelled in supporting the health of children and adolescents in their schools and communities.

The deadline is March 30th, click here for the nomination form.



State Policy Update Title

ACA cakeThe legislature heads back to Springfield today for eight days of session before adjourning for two weeks of “spring break” in the first half of April. For a comprehensive list of budget and legislative updates, download IMCHC’s latest policy memo.

As noted in Janine’s letter, IMCHC celebrates the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act this week. A critically important part of the success of health reform is the implementation of a health insurance Exchange.

The Exchange is a competitive health insurance marketplace that will help connect individuals and small businesses with affordable health insurance options starting in 2014. 

Negotiations on Exchange authorizing legislation resumed earlier this month. IMCHC and other advocacy organization working on behalf of working women and their families have agreed on several principles that must be prioritized in the development of a state-based Exchange. These include:

  1. All health insurance policies made available through the Exchange, including plans in the lowest-priced tier (Bronze plans), must include a quality set of covered benefits. 
  2. In order to make insurance coverage affordable, the Exchange must have the ability to control and/or regulate the cost of insurance.
  3. Protections should be in place to prevent the Exchange from only covering sick people while plans outside the Exchange would only cover healthy people.
  4. The Exchange must have adequate resources to function efficiently and be independent from political influence. 
  5. Exchange staff and the governing board must have adequate expertise to do the work effectively; board members must not directly benefit from decisions made by this body.

Take action through IMCHC’s e-advocacy system to share these principles with your state legislators and urge them to support Exchange authorizing language that incorporates these principles.

Download a fact sheet with more information about the benefits of an Exchange and these principles from our website. Be sure to take action - the success of health care reform in Illinois depends on it!


State Policy Update Title

HHS website snapshotThe US Department of Health and Human Services released final rules this week regarding Exchange governance, health plan standards, and eligibility and enrollment systems. HHS received nearly 25,000 comments about the proposed rules from interested parties, including IMCHC; several provisions will have additional opportunities for public comment. Download the 600+ page document from the HHS website or read a summary of the final rules at


The Supreme Court will be hearing legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act before the end of this month, with a final ruling expected in June. While no one can truly predict how the Supreme Court Justices will rule, part of what will influence their decision is hearing from the public that the Affordable Care Act is working.

An amicus (friend of the court) brief allows stakeholders to share their insight on a case before the Court. Signing onto Families USA’s "People's Amicus Brief" is a great way to show the Justices that the law is working and that Americans support the Affordable Care Act!

Curious about the legal arguments behind this Supreme Court case? Download a guide from the Kaiser Family Foundation that provides a history of the lawsuits and lower court rulings.




For too long, families have been subject to high prices, low quality, and an unwieldy and confusing process when it comes to purchasing health insurance. The creation of an Exchange in Illinois is an opportunity to change the system and support hard working families. Take action here and share our basic principles for developing a consumer friendly exchange with your legislators.

Click here to take action>>



blog title

Insurance companies are key stakeholders in health reform; how do they feel about the law? Turns out health insurance companies are starting to see the benefits of reform, including an influx of consumers purchasing their product. Read more about the growing support for the ACA among health insurance companies in our
latest blog post.

Upcoming Events Title

For more information about our upcoming events or to find out how to RSVP visit our calendar on our website.

Speak Out for Health Reform
March 21, 2012
Click here for more information and to RSVP.

Advocacy Day: Keep School Health Centers in the Budget!
March 28, 2012
Capitol | Springfield, IL
Click here for more information and to RSVP.


Starting Strong for Community Health!
Webinar: ACA Implementation in Illinois
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Click here for more information.

IMCHC's Chicago Area Chapter Meeting

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Click here for more details.

Campaign to Save Our Mother's and Babies Meeting
April 11, 2012
Click here to RSVP.

Partner Announcements title

A Healthy Future for Women and Girls Globally:
Fourth Annual Action Summit on Comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

"Fundraising: Asking with Ease and Effectiveness"

The HealthConnect One Associate Board & UIC School of Public Health
invite you to attend A Doula Story
Documentary Screening & Discussion

ICAAP will be hosting a Bright Smiles from Birth training

Healthy Lung Expo - Chicago 2012

Process of Writing for Publications Workshop

A full listing of Partner Announcements can be found on our website.


Facebook Fan Link Image
Twitter Link Image Flickr Link Image
YouTube Link Image

To become an IMCHC member today
click here. | To make a donation today click here.

Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition | 1256 W. Chicago Ave. | Chicago, IL 60642 | Tel: 312.491.8161 |