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We work to support advocacy to protect access to public health benefits.

Between February and May of 2020, 186,000 Illinoisans lost their employer-sponsored health insurance. That means 13% of our state’s adults are uninsured. Access to affordable healthcare is critical to ensuring families can live healthy lives. That’s why, in the past three years, Michael Reese has invested $1.6 million to organizations advocating to preserve public health benefits.

Our Work With Shriver Center on Poverty Law

Shriver Center on Poverty Law leads the fight for economic and racial justice by litigating, shaping policy and training and connecting people in the advocacy community.

Through its advocacy work to help expand Medicaid access, the number of insured in Illinois has increased by over 600,000 people – including Kelly Medina – while bringing in more than $7.4 billion additional dollars in federal funds for hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other healthcare providers in the state. 

They are just the resource Chicagoland residents like Kelly need.

While pursuing a master’s degree in social work, Kelly worked full time at a hospital as a bilingual care coordinator, helping patients figure out managed care insurance and coverage. Having spent several years managing her 14-year-old daughter’s Type 1 diabetes, Kelly was an expert in health care coverage. 

But when the hospital eliminated Kelly’s job, she lost her health insurance.  She applied for Medicaid but in Illinois, it was taking six months or more to determine eligibility. 


“Suddenly I’m juggling the bills, the student loans and trying to figure out how I’m going to pay out of pocket for the insulin and appointments my daughter needs. 

I had to wait until my work insurance ran out to even apply at the public aid office. Two weeks later, they told me my application was in review. A week or so after that, they told me that they needed supporting documentation—documentation that I had already submitted.

Meanwhile, every day I was losing sleep thinking, ‘What am I going to do when I run out of supplies?’

That’s when Shriver Center on Poverty Law stepped in.

I never thought I would need an advocate to help me get Medicaid, but I don’t know what we would have done without one. Thanks to them, my daughter is living another day.”

Kelly MedinaChicagoland Resident

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all Chicagoans can live healthy lives