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Help for Uninsured Illinois Children

By Amy Hart on Oct 6, 2005 8:02PM


Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is hoping to make Illinois the first state to offer health insurance to all children. There are currently 250,000 children in the state without health insurance, and many of these kids’ parents either make too much to receive public aid insurance, or too little to afford private coverage.

Blago says the program will cost $45 million in its first year, but that the money funding it would come a restructuring of the management of state Medicaid, rather than from tax dollars, and could be up and running by July of 2006.

The insurance would not be free, instead charging reduced premiums and co-pays based on household incomes.

Illinois is already ranked as one of the top states for providing insurance to working parents and children.

State Republicans will most likely question the program’s costs in light of the state’s growing budget deficit and say, as State treasurer and (maybe) possible gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka has, that Blago is making a desperate plea to look good in the eyes of voters.

The governor’s office has recently been accused of corruption, and Blago faces new poll results that show he would lose the 2006 election to State Senator Steve Rauschenberger.

Republicans will have to be careful in their criticism… the last thing they need is to appear to be against a program designed to help poor children.