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Gov. Blagojevich honors father of the civil rights movement by calling for grass-roots push to eliminate inequity in health care access in Illinois       Send a link to a friend

(Text copied from file provided by the Illinois Office of Communication and Information)

[JAN. 16, 2007]  CHICAGO -- On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and speaking before hundreds of African American community leaders and elected and appointed officials, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today urged for a grassroots movement to continue expanding access to healthcare to everyone in Illinois. 

"One of Dr. King's most inspirational quotes is that 'Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.' Unfortunately, inequality in healthcare is still one of the greatest injustices we face," said the Governor who addressed the Seventeenth Annual PUSH-Excel Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Breakfast.

"Here in Illinois, we've made great strides towards the goal of making healthcare for all a fundamental right. We've made sure uninsured children have access to affordable health insurance. We've extended affordable healthcare for hundreds of thousands of working parents. We're helping our seniors save money on prescription drugs. But we most do more. There are 1.4 million adults in Illinois who do not have health insurance, nearly a quarter of them African Americans, and those who do have insurance are worried about the cost. But while Washington does nothing to help people, we are not going to sit on our laurels. I want everyone to have access to good, quality healthcare," the Governor added.

According to Milliman's 2006 Medical Cost Index Report in the U.S., a family of 4 spends $5,020 in total health care costs -- including both premiums and co-pays/deductibles. With the rising cost of healthcare across the nation and in Illinois, Governor Blagojevich emphasized that Illinois can do more for working men and women and their children by expanding access to health care so that not just children get coverage, but every family member has access to affordable, quality health care.

According to U.S. Census figures, 46 million Americans currently do not have health insurance. In Illinois, 20 percent of adults -- 1.4 million people -- are uninsured, and nearly a quarter of them are African American.

Governor Blagojevich has made expanding access to affordable healthcare his top priority since 2003. Just last week, The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, one of the nation's most respected independent health policy research organizations, released a report crediting Governor Blagojevich's administration for sparking a national movement to provide healthcare to all children. The Kaiser Commission also found that Illinois, for the third year in a row, ranks #1 in the nation for providing healthcare to working parents who need it.

Shortly after taking office in 2003, the Governor increased the income threshold for children in KidCare from 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level to 200 percent, and in November 2005, the Governor signed All Kids into law, making healthcare affordable for the families of every uninsured child in the state. All Kids made Illinois the first state in the nation to offer affordable, comprehensive health coverage to every uninsured child. Under Governor Blagojevich, the state has provided health coverage to more than 313,000 children who didn't have it before.

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Gov. Blagojevich also worked to further expand FamilyCare by increasing the eligibility level for benefits on three occasions, from 133 percent of the FPL (annual household income of $25,740 for a family of four) to 185 percent of the FPL (an annual household income of $35,796 for a family of four). Under Governor Blagojevich, more than 500,000 Illinoisans now have healthcare that did not before.


  • Nearly a quarter million low-income seniors and disabled individuals have been helped by the State through our "Illinois Cares RX" program, which also fills the "donut hole" in the Medicare Part D program;

  • Tens of thousands of people have saved more than $10 million thanks to the "Illinois Rx Buying Club," which helps seniors, the disabled and the uninsured save an average of nearly 30% on hundreds of the most popular prescription drugs;

  • The recently launched "Veterans Care" program is providing uninsured Illinois veterans access to the comprehensive and affordable healthcare coverage they have bravely earned.

Since the All Kids program was signed into law in November 2005, the Governor's Office and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) have been aggressively reaching out and traveling to communities across the state to make sure eligible families know about the program and local healthcare providers, social service agents and community leaders are armed with the information they need to help families enroll. Families can apply for the program by calling 1-866-ALL-KIDS to receive an application form by mail or by visiting www.allkids.com.

The Governor's All Kids program makes comprehensive health insurance available to all uninsured children, and All Kids covers immunizations, doctor visits, and many other healthcare services such as hospital stays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care, as well as medical devices like eyeglasses and asthma inhalers. Parents pay monthly premiums and co-payments for a variety of services.

Studies have shown that children with health coverage are more likely to get preventative care, stay healthy and succeed in school.

[News release from the governor's office]


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