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updated: 5/28/2013 6:53 PM

Medicaid expansion heads to Illinois governor

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois lawmakers have approved a historic expansion of Medicaid to cover low-income adults without children.

The key part of President Barack Obama's health care law heads to Gov. Pat Quinn, who is in favor of it. Quinn says it'll help transform Illinois' health care.

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The Senate approved the plan 39-20 Tuesday.

Up to half a million uninsured Illinoisans will be newly eligible for coverage. The federal government will pay for the first three years. About 342,000 people are expected to enroll by 2017.

The complex bill also includes a proposal to revamp what care mental health institutions can provide.

Republicans opposed to the plan worry about future costs and program stability.

Democratic Rep. Heather Steans, a sponsor, says it's an "unprecedented opportunity."

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