Suffredin- Changing County Government  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.


Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

  Cook County was created on January 15, 1831 and named after Daniel P. Cook, Member of Congress and the first Attorney from the State of Illinois.

Low-cost health care is here, but no one seems to know it

Monday, August 15, 2005
Chicago Sun-Times
by LORI RACKL Health Reporter

Despite numbness in her foot and a lump growing on her neck, Maryann Holland, 50, didn't go to the doctor.

Holland, like one in seven Illinois residents, had no health insurance. She hadn't been to a doctor in nearly two decades.

"It just cost too much money," said the Melrose Park waitress.

Holland finally found a doctor she could afford earlier this year thanks to Access to Care, a low-cost medical program for the uninsured.

Access to Care recently expanded beyond the suburbs to cover low-income residents on the Northwest Side of Chicago. But the program is struggling to catch on in the city -- and not because of lack of need for affordable health care, said Access to Care spokeswoman Katie Barnickel.

"They just don't know about us," Barnickel said. "We have a 16-year track record in the suburbs and no track record in the city. It's hard to get the word out."

$50 for family to enroll

The Cook County Board this year put up the money to enroll 1,100 people in this underserved part of Chicago, but only 100 or so have taken advantage of the offer. About 14,200 suburbanites get low-cost health care through Access to Care.

Here's how the program works: Eligible, low-income residents pay a small annual enrollment fee that ranges from $20 for a single adult to $50 for a family of three or more. Patients can tap in to a network of nearly 700 participating doctors for primary health care, which costs $5 a visit.

There's a nominal charge for X-rays and lab tests, and prescription drugs can be had for $10 to $30. Hospitalization and specialty care from a cardiologist or orthopedist, for example, aren't covered by the program.

The goal of Access to Care is to provide basic health care for people who find themselves in the ever-widening gap between eligibility for public health programs and the ability to afford private insurance.

'We're here'

"If I'd known about this earlier, I would've gone to the doctor a lot sooner," said Holland, who had the pre-cancerous lump in her neck removed over the summer.

Her new doctor also put her on asthma medication and diagnosed the arthritis in her knee. And the numbness in her foot has gone away.

"I feel a lot better," she said.

Barnickel is convinced plenty of people in Chicago could benefit from Access to Care just as Holland did.

"We know they're out there," she said. "Now how do we make them know we're here?"


For eligibility, you must:

*Live in suburban Cook County or the Northwest Side of Chicago, west of Pulaski Road and north of North Avenue.

*Have an income below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. That translates into $38,700 for a family of four and $19,000 for a single adult, for example.

*Have no health insurance and be ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare.

You can apply for enrollment in person or via mail.

Call Access to Care at (708) 531-0680.


Recent Headlines

Measles Exposure Reported in Chicago
Monday, May 20, 2019

News from the Cook County Health System
Friday, May 17, 2019
Special to

Cook County Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Daily Herald

Skokie plans for road improvements near Edens Expressway: 'It’s desperately needed'
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Skokie Review

5 Chicago hospitals earn D grades for patient safety in new report, Northwestern slips to a B
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin: Backward Glances
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Cook County Eliminated Its Gang Database, But Advocates Say Harm Continues
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Cook County Housing Authority Proposal Targets the 'Missing Middle'
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Evanston RoundTable

Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Citizens, Noncitizens Alike
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

News from Friends of the Forest Preserves
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Special to

Cook County commissioners get earful about soon-to-be-destroyed gang database
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Detainee dies days after suicide attempt at Cook County jail
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Curious City How Chicago Women Created The World’s First Juvenile Justice System
Monday, May 13, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County report: Sharp drop in jail population, but crime did not jump
Friday, May 10, 2019
Injustice Watch

Will Cook County be home to the next big measles outbreak? Researchers think so.
Friday, May 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

May is Prime Time for Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
Special to

More Babies Are Illegally Abandoned Than Turned Over Through Illinois’ Safe Haven Law In Cook County
Thursday, May 09, 2019
CBS Chicago

Empty businesses may lose county tax incentives
Wednesday, May 08, 2019
Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

As new DCFS report highlights failures, Cook County guardian says 'inept' child welfare agency is ‘not doing its job ... at every level’
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County passes bill to stop discrimination against tenant applicants
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Chicago Crusader

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.