Parents can now sign up to receive All Kids enrollment information
by going online to
www.allkidscovered.com. Children enrolled in All Kids will begin
enjoying benefits when the plan goes into effect on July 1, 2006.
"Today marks a major achievement for Illinois families who are doing
everything they're supposed to do -- working hard, paying their
taxes, raising their families -- but still can't afford health
insurance for their children," Blagojevich said. "With All Kids,
every child in Illinois will be able to go to the doctor for regular
checkups, or to the dentist to fill a cavity, or to the eye doctor
to get a prescription for glasses. With All Kids, every child can
get the care they need when they need it. They can go to school
healthy, focused, ready to learn, ready to follow in their parents'
footsteps, pursuing the American dream."
In Illinois, 253,000 children don't have health insurance. That's
enough to fill every one of the 43,000 hospital beds in Illinois six
times over. More than half of Illinois' uninsured children come from
working and middle-class families that earn too much to qualify for
programs like KidCare but still cannot afford private health
insurance. The governor's program makes comprehensive health
insurance available to all children -- regardless of family income
-- with parents paying monthly premiums and co-payments for doctor's
visits and prescription drugs at affordable rates.
The governor's All Kids program offers children access to
comprehensive health care, including doctor's visits, hospital
stays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care and medical
devices like eyeglasses and asthma inhalers.
"I want to thank Governor Blagojevich and the Illinois General
Assembly for passing this law," said Tiffany Ascensio, a mother of
an uninsured Illinois family. "It is a mother's worst nightmare
knowing that your child is sick and there may not be anything that
you can do about it. Now, thanks to the governor's new health
insurance plan, I can sleep better at night knowing that my children
will be able to see the doctor when they need to. I am extremely
happy that the All Kids plan was signed into law."
"I am excited to know that it has passed; it is just a big relief
for my family," said Tracie Evans, a mother of an uninsured Illinois
family. "It is like a burden has been lifted. I don't have to worry
about my kids getting sick and not having the insurance to take care
Annette Akey, a mother of an uninsured Illinois family, said, "I
want to thank Governor Blagojevich for all of his hard work in
researching, developing and fighting for the passage of the All Kids
program. All families with children in Illinois will benefit from
this new law."
State Senate President Emil Jones and House Speaker Michael J.
Madigan signed on as the lead sponsors of legislation creating the
All Kids health insurance program and from day one vowed to push for
"Health care for children should not have to be a decision; it
should always be a priority," Jones said. "The All Kids program
ensures that every Illinois child can receive preventative as well
as continuing health care from a primary care physician. The program
reprioritizes our goals and puts the emphasis where it should be: on
quality health care for children."
"The parents and children of Illinois will be well-served by the
initiation of the governor's All Kids program," Madigan said.
"I was happy to sponsor this legislation in the Illinois House."
Several statewide officials also championed the All Kids program,
including Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn.
"In 2001, I walked from the Mississippi River in Rock Island to
Lake Michigan in Chicago on behalf of decent health care," Quinn
said. "The All Kids initiative delivers affordable health coverage
for the children of the thousands of working moms and dads I met
along the way."
State legislators also expressed their support for All Kids and
were instrumental in its final passage.
"From the first day the governor ran for office he talked about
setting the right priorities for the state of
Illinois," said state Sen. Carol Ronen of Chicago. "He has made
health care one of his top priorities as governor. This is yet
another example of how this governor has kept his commitment to the
people of Illinois. Illinois continues to lead this nation in
providing health care for children. I'm very proud of that fact."
"The health of our kids is paramount," said Sen. Martin Sandoval
of Cicero. "I will not rest until every single child in Illinois
goes to bed at night with medical insurance. Health care for our
children should not depend [on] whether the parents have a generous
employer. All of society is served by keeping our kids healthy."
"We are the first in the nation adding kids to the insurance
rolls, and now we are finishing the job," said state Rep. Lou Lang
"I am pleased to support the All Kids health care program," said
state Rep. William Davis, East Hazel Crest. "I look forward to the
governor signing what I feel is one of the most important pieces of
legislation for families of my tenure."
"The All Kids program is another huge step that the governor is
taking to address the issue of the uninsured in the state of
Illinois," said state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz Chicago. "It is a bold
and aggressive initiative that will help the working families."
"Without a tax increase or gaming expansion, we have the first
year where we might have a surplus, and we are doing the right thing
with it: giving health care to the kids," said state Rep. Robert
Molaro of Chicago.
"There are currently over 250,000 children in Illinois who do not
receive proper health care because their families cannot afford
health insurance for them," said state Rep. Michelle Chávez of
Cicero. "That is nothing short of a travesty and a shame. If a child
is sick and needs to see a doctor, that child should be able to go
see a doctor without his parents having to worry about how they can
possibly afford to pay for it."
In the weeks since the governor unveiled the All Kids proposal in
early October, more than 400 groups and organizations representing a
wide range of interests -- from medical professionals to organized
labor -- have endorsed the plan.
"Enhancing access to health care has always been the goal of the
hospital community in Illinois," said Ken Robbins, president of the
Illinois Hospital Association. "We applaud Governor Blagojevich for
his leadership on this critical health care issue. We look forward
to collaborating with the state to work out the details to
successfully implement the All Kids program."
"The All Kids initiative is a very concrete way of expressing our
collective belief in the value of every child in our community,"
said Jerry Stermer, president of Voices for Illinois Children. "We
applaud Governor Blagojevich and the legislature for giving the
health care needs of all children the top spot on the priority list,
exactly where they belong. This initiative is the kind of
partnership between parents and government that makes sense to all
"As head of the Chicago Teachers Union, we believe all
children deserve a quality education," said Marilyn Stewart,
union president. "We also believe a healthy body makes a healthy
mind, which is why we believe all children should have access to
quality health care. We commend the governor and legislative leaders
in finally providing access to affordable health care to children
and the working families of Illinois."
"The governor's leadership in bringing health care to all the
children of Illinois is appreciated by everyone in the community,"
said Vincent A. Allocco, Ph.D., president of El Valor. "It is an
example for governors in other parts in the country. The All Kids
plan brings affordable health care to all children regardless of
legal status. The investment in health care is an investment in the
future of our state and our nation. The governor's leadership,
vision and courage are to be applauded."
"Citizen Action/Illinois applauds Governor Blagojevich for moving
our state significantly closer to providing quality, affordable
health care for all the residents of Illinois by signing All Kids,"
said Lynda DeLaforgue, co-director of the organization.
"We congratulate Governor Blagojevich and the Illinois
legislature for making the All Kids plan a reality," said Ron
Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a nonpartisan national
health policy organization. "The signing of this legislation is an
historic achievement and a great step forward for families
throughout the state of Illinois. This plan makes Illinois the first
state in the country to provide comprehensive health care coverage
to uninsured children. This enormous breakthrough may set an example
for other states and the federal government to extend help to the
parents of uninsured children all across the country."
"Governor Blagojevich, your leadership and vision on health care
is commendable, and your belief that health care is a right and not
a privilege doesn't just speak about family values, but your actions
show how you value the lives of all families," said Jim Duffett,
executive director of Campaign for Better Healthcare. "The All Kids
program is just one example of you keeping your word."
"Across our nation leaders are sitting on the sideline doing
nothing about the growing health care crisis. Governor Rod
Blagojevich and the state legislature have risen to demonstrate that
providing affordable primary care for all children can be done. It
is right, it is just, and it is smart. For the Latino community, a
very young community full of hardworking families, All Kids will
provide unprecedented access to those that need it most, our
children," said Juan Salgado, executive director of the Instituto
del Progreso Latino. "Governor Blagojevich, thanks to your
leadership and vision, we can all rest better at night knowing that
the children of Illinois are being cared for through All Kids!"
"The All Kids program will provide
affordable health coverage to all Illinois children," said
Jim Skogsbergh, president and chief executive officer of Advocate
Health Care. "As the largest health care
provider in Illinois, we commend Governor Blagojevich for his
leadership in proposing this groundbreaking program."
"Children without health care coverage are more likely not to get
the preventive care they need," said Laura Leon, executive director
of the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition. "Many of them
end up in emergency rooms that end up costing everyone more money
and very difficult for physician to provide quality care. Illinois
Maternal and Child Health Coalition salutes the governor making it
possible for families across Illinois to purchase health care
coverage at affordable rates."
"On behalf of our Illinois LULAC members, we commend all those
individuals that listened to our call for supporting the All Kids
bill and ensured that our children's health care became the first
and most prioritized mission in the state of Illinois," said
Gilberto Romero Jr., state director of the League of United Latin
American Citizens of Illinois. "An unhealthy child is the result of
an unhealthy government and its society. A special thank-you to our
Honorable Governor Rod R. Blagojevich for making the state of
Illinois the pilot state to give our families, no matter the level
of income, the opportunity for our children to receive the necessary
medical care they need in times of illness and also in the field of
preventions. Huge burdens have been relieved from the chest of
thousands of families, knowing their children will now be able to
receive the proper care during their illness without having to miss
work, sell their belongings and suffer the possibilities of losing a
child because they could not afford medical treatment for their
beloved child. It's a long way to perfect the process and ensure
everyone receives this program rightfully and without prejudices,
but keep in mind that it's very important for all our legislators to
work out the restrictions and loopholes for funding this vital
program needed for our Illinoisans. They must work all very hard in
ensuring this All Kids bill is one of success and beneficial to all
in the state of Illinois."
[to top of second column in this article]
"Building better lives for all children is a goal for All Kids
by providing a 'medical home' where care is accessible through
affordable health insurance," said Charles N. Onufer, M.D., F.A.A.P.,
director of University of Illinois at Chicago -- Division of
Specialized Care for Children. "All Kids is good for all our kids
... and that is A-OK."
"Congratulations! Today is a historical day for Illinois and
specially for the children of Illinois," said Victor Aranda,
president of the Peruvian Cultural Center. "Your leadership has
accomplished something that was considered impossible some time ago.
I am hoping that the other states of the Union follow your example
and they do the same for the well-being of the poor and the
underprivileged. I am also hoping that some day this health care
initiative will be extended to everyone in the nation. Let's start
the socialization of the health care field and don't let the large
insurance companies make huge profits with our health. The children
of Illinois will always remember you."
"Carepoint Adult, Child and Family Association feels that the
governor's new initiative to provide health care for families will
now allow us to offer hope to families who previously had few
options other than going into great debt," said Vincent Gillon,
executive director of the association. "Thank you, Governor!"
"On behalf of Centers for New Horizons Inc., the All Kids program
is great for the children in the Bronzeville community that may not
have access to quality services," said Dr. Sokoni Karanja, president
of the centers.
"We support the governor to make health care available to all
children in Illinois, especially to all families that are working
and companies choose not provide health care for their children,"
said Jane Garza, executive director of El Hogar del Nino. "Thank
you, Governor Blagojevich."
"We applaud the governor and the General Assembly for this bold
step to make health care available to every child in Illinois," said
the Rev. Jennifer Kottler, deputy director of Protestants for the
Common Good. "As people of faith, we know that we are called to
ensure that such care is available to the most vulnerable members of
our society, and we are pleased to see that All Kids will do just
"We are pleased to support the governor's initiative for All Kids
to provide working families the ability to have access for
affordable health care for their children," said Tony Perry,
president and chief executive officer of the Perry Group, and Joe
Perry, president of the Illinois Regional Development Alliance.
"The Bradley-Bourbonnais Chamber of Commerce is proud to endorse
the governor's initiative for providing affordable health insurance
for working family's children," said Doug Steffen, president and
chief executive officer of the Bradley-Bourbonnais Chamber of
Commerce. "We believe All Kids is a great way for families to reduce
the risk of their children being uninsured."
"With the signing of this bill today we are saying that all
children in the state of Illinois are important to us, and with this
we are impacting a whole generation of future leaders," said Maria
del Socorro Pesqueira, president and chief executive officer of
Mujeres Latinas en Accion.
"Working families [want] to make sure their children have
affordable and quality health care," said Steve Mcgruder, president
of the Kankakee County Building and Construction Trades Council.
"Yet, all it takes is to see your child get sick and need a doctor
one time, and you most definitely understand the importance of
health insurance. Under Governor Blagojevich's plan, parents will be
able to afford health care at far cheaper costs than on the private
market. All Kids is a critical investment for the future of our
Over the past 2˝ years, the Blagojevich administration has worked
to expand health coverage for low-income working parents and their
children. Since January of 2003, 170,000
more children in Illinois received health insurance, and
Illinois is now ranked as the second-best state in the nation by the
Kaiser Family Foundation for providing health care to children who
need it. Illinois is also now the top-ranked state in the nation for
providing health care to adults who need it.
Despite these gains, there are still uninsured children in every
corner of the state. In Cook County, the state's most populated
county, 12 percent of children are uninsured. In Pulaski County, at
the southern tip of Illinois, nearly 15 percent of children lack
health coverage. In St. Clair County, 9.3 percent of children do not
have health insurance. In Sangamon County, home to Illinois'
capitol, 8.6 percent of kids are not insured. Even in suburban
DuPage County, one of the 25 wealthiest counties in the United
States, 7.2 percent of children have no health insurance.
Research shows that uninsured children suffer because they do not
have access to adequate medical care. For example:
- The Kaiser Family Foundation found that uninsured children
are 70 percent less likely than children with insurance to
receive medical care for conditions like ear infections and 30
percent less likely to receive medical attention when they are
- A National Health Interview Survey found that 59 percent of
uninsured children did not see a doctor for a checkup in the
past year and 38 percent of children have no regular place to go
for medical care. These factors put uninsured children at higher
risk for hospitalization or missed diagnoses of serious
Participants in the new program will pay monthly premiums and
co-payments for doctors' visits and prescriptions, but unlike
private insurance that is too expensive for so many families, the
rates for All Kids coverage will be based on a family's income. The
state is able to offer All Kids insurance coverage at much lower
than market rates for middle-income families by leveraging the
significant negotiating and buying power it already has through
For example, a family with two children that earns between
$40,000 and $59,000 a year will pay a $40 monthly premium per child
and a $10 co-pay per physician visit. A family with two children
earning between $60,000 and $79,000 will pay a $70 monthly premium
per child and a $15 co-pay per physician visit. However, there will
be no co-pays for preventative care visits, such as annual
immunizations and regular checkups and screenings for vision,
hearing, appropriate development or preventative dental. These
premiums for middle-income families are significantly more
affordable than typical private insurance premiums of $100 to $200 a
month, or $2,400 per child annually.
The state will cover the difference between what parents
contribute in monthly premiums and the actual cost of providing
health care for each child, expected to be $45 million in the first
year, with savings generated by implementing a primary care case
management model for participants in the state's FamilyCare and All
Kids health care programs. Participants will choose a single primary
physician who will manage their care by ensuring they get
immunizations and other preventative health care services and avoid
unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Patients
with chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes will have a single
care manager to make sure they are getting the treatments and
ongoing care they need to avoid acute care. Primary care physicians
will make referrals to specialists for additional care or tests as
By ensuring patients get adequate preventative care on the front
end, fewer people will need expensive specialized care or emergency
care for critical conditions. In children, preventative care is
especially important. For example, infants with stomach flu
(gastroenteritis) who receive appropriate primary care can avoid
being hospitalized for dehydration. Providing a timely exam and
appropriate antibiotic treatment for children with ear infections (otitis
media) can prevent chronic ear problems, loss of hearing and the
need for surgically placed tubes to relieve fluid buildup. Treating
children with bronchitis or minor lung infections in a primary care
setting can help to avoid more expensive hospitalization treatment
of pneumonia, including intravenous antibiotics and respiratory
treatments. And early identification and appropriate treatment of
children who have chronic illnesses, such as asthma, will result in
fewer expensive emergency room and inpatient care visits.
Twenty-nine other states -- including North Carolina, New York,
Texas, Pennsylvania and Louisiana -- have realized significant
savings by using this model for their Medicaid programs. Based on
independent analyses, the Department of Healthcare and Family
Services estimates the state will save $56 million in the first year
by implementing the primary care case management model in all state
health programs but those that serve seniors and the blind.
Evidence shows that in addition to lacking adequate medical care,
children without health insurance are at a disadvantage in the
classroom. For example:
- According to a 1997 annual report from Florida Healthy Kids,
children who do not have health coverage are 25 percent more
likely to miss school.
- A California Health Status Assessment Project on children's
health published in 2002 found that children who recently
enrolled in health care saw their attendance and performance
improve by 68 percent.
- And a 2002 study in Vermont entitled "Building Bridges to
Healthy Kids and Better Students," conducted by the Council of
Chief State School Officers, showed that children who started
out without health insurance saw their reading scores more than
double after getting health care.
Research also provides strong economic reasons for insuring all
children. Families USA, a nonpartisan national health care policy
organization, released a report recently finding that the governor's
All Kids program could generate $87 million in new business activity
and nearly $31 million in new wages statewide in its first year of
implementation. According to the study, All Kids will capture
approximately $37 million from the federal government in matching
funds for covering more children eligible for Medicaid and the State
Children's Health Insurance Program and for speeding up the payment
cycle for all doctors who treat children in the state's health
insurance programs for children.
The $37 million in federal funds from All Kids will have a direct
effect on the state's economy, as it's used to pay doctors,
hospitals, clinics and other health-related businesses. Providers
then use the payments they receive to buy goods and pay salaries,
which, in turn, adds more money to the economy that can be spent on
other goods and services. Using a U.S. Department of Commerce
input-output model, Families USA found that this ripple effect, also
called the "multiplier effect," is estimated to generate $87,561,000
in new business activity and $30,769,000 in wages in the first year
of All Kids.
As the Families USA report demonstrates, investing in health
coverage provides benefits beyond the individual lives that are
helped. Health care is the second-fastest growing industry in the
state and one of the fastest in the nation. Over the past five
years, the health care industry has created nearly 40,000 new jobs
More information about All Kids is available online at
[News release from the governor's