An Illinois Medicaid Backlog Of More Than 100,000 by The 21st published on 2019-05-20T18:10:36Z About one-in-five Americans have health insurance through Medicaid. It’s one of the biggest federal programs in the country, but it’s also run a little differently in each state. Here in Illinois, there’s currently a big problem in how our system is run. Under federal law, if you apply for Medicaid, the state needs to decide whether you’re eligible within 45 days. Many Illinois residents have waited longer than that and as a result, are going without health insurance. How many? The most recent numbers have it at more than 112,000. Becky Dernbach is a freelance journalist and a graduate student at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. She reported on this issue for the Chicago Sun-Times. Carrie Chapman is director of advocacy with the Legal Council for Health Justice. Claudia Lehnhoff is executive director of Champaign County Health Care Consumers.