IL General Assembly Leads Efforts to End the HIV Epidemic by Passing Landmark Legislation and $10 Million HIV Funding Increase

April 11, 2022

By Timothy S. Jackson

Concluding a flurry of activity, the 2022 Spring Session of the 102nd Illinois General Assembly was gaveled to adjournment just before sunrise on Saturday, April 9, 2022. Despite an abbreviated session due to primary elections just around the corner, legislators approved a $46 billion Fiscal Year 2023 budget that includes investments in public safety and mental health.  State lawmakers were also able to make substantive efforts in helping Illinoisans continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation concerns including a one-time Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) rebate ($50 per person, $100 per child), the permanent expansion of the EITC and temporary relief from gas, grocery, and property taxes.

Entering the Spring session, AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) developed a community-centered state policy priority agenda that increases access to quality health care, addresses racial health inequities faced by Black, Latino/a/e/x, and LGBTQ+ communities impacted by HIV, and advances the priorities and goals of the Getting to Zero Illinois (GTZ-IL) plan.

Despite a truncated legislative session, AFC and our partners were able to secure several victories including increased access for PrEP and PEP through community pharmacies, equitable reforms to the state’s Medicaid program, added protections for LGBTQ+ older adults and older adults living with HIV, and a groundbreaking $10 million investment in the statewide plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.

AFC is proud to have advocated for the following bills or budget provisions that have passed both chambers and now await Governor JB Pritzker’s signature:

HB4430, Increasing Access to PrEP & PEP, allows pharmacists to dispense and administer PrEP & PEP under a standing order of a licensed physician to those who are at risk or who may have been exposed to HIV. HB4430 expands access to PrEP and PEP while at the same time advancing the state plan to end the HIV epidemic in Illinois by connecting Black, Latino/a/e/x and LGBTQ+ communities most impacted by HIV to lifesaving preventative care. Championed by State Representatives Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), Margaret Croke (D-Chicago) and Greg Harris (D-Chicago), in addition to State Senators Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) and Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), HB4430 passed the Illinois General Assembly on April 7, 2022. 

AIDS Foundation Chicago is proud to have partnered with the Illinois Pharmacists Association, Howard Brown Health, Equality Illinois, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Walgreens, Avita Pharmacy, Community Renewal Society, and other stakeholders on this critical legislation. With Governor Pritzker’s signature, Illinois will become the 8th state in the nation to make HIV prevention care more accessible by expanding access through pharmacies.

HB4264, Getting to Zero Illinois Omnibus, requested $15 million in critical investments to help advance the goals and strategies of the Getting to Zero Illinois plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. Although this bill did not advance out of the House Appropriations-Human Services Committee, $10 million in funding for Getting to Zero Illinois was included in the state’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget (HB900). The funding will address the health disparities experienced by people living with or vulnerable to HIV—especially among our Black, Latino/a/e/x and LGBTQ+ communities. Championed by House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago), State Senators Doris Turner (D-Springfield) and Mike Simmons (D-Chicago), and State Representatives Camille Lilly (D-Chicago), Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago), and Lamont Robinson (D-Chicago), the final state budget provides $10 million in state funding for key investments in HIV testing, prevention, and treatment, including access to PrEP as outlined in the Getting to Zero Illinois plan. The state’s FY23 budget passed the Illinois General Assembly on April 9, 2022. The $10 million in new funding will be administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

SB3490, Disrupting Disparities for LGBTQ+ Older Adults and Older Adults Living with HIV, ensures Illinois continues as a leader in advancing equity and affirming care for LGBTQ+ older adults and older adults living with HIV by establishing the first-in-the-nation LGBTQ Older Adult Advocate within

a state government, requiring state-funded providers to complete LGBTQ older adult awareness and competency training, and the creation of the three-year Illinois Commission on LGBTQ Aging. An initiative of AARP Illinois, AIDS Foundation Chicago, Center on Halsted, Equality Illinois, Howard Brown Health, Pride Action Tank, and SAGE, SB3490 was championed by State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) and State Representative Lakesia Collins (D-Chicago). SB3490 passed the Illinois General Assembly on March 31, 2022.

HB4343, Medicaid Omnibus, encourages Medicaid enrollment by making the current practice of Medicaid continuous eligibility for Illinoisans with fluctuating income permanent. HB4343 also requires the Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services (HFS) to maximize ex parte renewals, especially among those without employment income, people with disabilities like HIV, and older adults. AFC is proud to partner with Heartland Alliance, Aunt Martha’s, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Legal Council for Health Justice, the Illinois Primary Health Care Association, and many others on this critical legislation. Championed by House Majority Leader Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and State Senators Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) and Mike Simmons (D-Chicago), HB4343 passed the Illinois General Assembly on April 9, 2022.

HB4437, Healthy Illinois For All, championed by Representative Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) and Senator Omar Aquiño (D-Chicago), would have extended Medicaid eligibility to all low-income Illinois residents ages 19 through 54 with household incomes of up to 138% Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Although it did not advance out of the House Appropriations-Human Services Committee, amended language from the legislation was included in the Medicaid Omnibus, HB4343 SA#2. Specifically, this amended language provides medical coverage for all adults regardless of immigration status ages 42-54 with incomes at or below 138% FPL. AFC is a proud steering committee member of the Healthy Illinois campaign that championed this legislation. The Medicaid Omnibus (HB4343), including the amended language, passed the Illinois General Assembly on April 9, 2022.

As we celebrate these legislative victories, we fully understand that we do not do this work alone. AFC is proud to work alongside various coalitions and workgroups to advance legislation that helps the people and communities we serve. Additionally, our lobbying and advocacy work in Springfield is guided by and rooted in the stories, lived experiences, and voices of people like you that bring life to our policy priorities. Thank you for sharing your humanity with us and answering the calls to action time and time again. We are eternally humbled and grateful. THANK YOU.  

Although this legislative session has come to an end, AFC’s commitment to protect those often pushed to the margins of our society, including people living with or vulnerable to HIV and people experiencing homelessness, will not waver. We encourage you to stay engaged in our advocacy work over the summer and fall by signing up for AFC’s Mobile Action Network. With your help, we can continue to #ActivatePowerIL to end the HIV epidemic in Illinois by 2030.

Categorized under Public Statements.

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