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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 21, 2005

Illinois Academy of Family Physicians endorses Gov. Blagojevich’s plan to provide comprehensive health coverage for every uninsured child in Illinois
IAFP joins growing list of All Kids supporters; More than 400 organizations back Governor’s plan to make Illinois the only state in the country to offer comprehensive health coverage to every child

CHICAGO – The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP) today endorsed Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s landmark All Kids proposal that would make Illinois the only state in the nation to provide affordable, comprehensive health insurance for every child in the state.  The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP) is a professional medical society that represents 2,100 practicing family physicians throughout Illinois. IAFP joins more than 400 organizations representing medical facilities, doctors, nurses, educators, labor, child advocates and clergy that have endorsed the Governor’s plan since he introduced it two weeks ago. 
 
“Many family physicians are part of the safety net which provides care to those who need it, regardless of their ability to pay,” said Fredric D. Leary, M.D., President of the IAFP in a statement. “The Governor’s All Kids plan will provide stability and peace of mind for parents so their children can get the care they need and deserve.  It will also help physicians meet the needs of those children.”
 
“Family physicians know first hand how important health care is for children,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “I am so pleased that the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians will be joining with us in the effort to make sure each and every child in Illinois has access to the health care they need and deserve.”
 
In Illinois, 253,000 children are without health insurance.  More than half of Illinois’ uninsured children come from working and middle class families who earn too much to qualify for programs like KidCare, but not enough to afford private health insurance.  The Governor’s program would make comprehensive health insurance available to children, with parents paying monthly premiums and co-payments for doctor’s visits and prescription drugs at affordable rates. 
 
Senate President Emil Jones and House Speaker Michael J. Madigan are the lead sponsors of legislation creating the All Kids health insurance program and have vowed to push for its passage during the upcoming fall veto session so the program can be up and running by July 1, 2006. The organizations vowed to help the Governor build support to pass his All Kids plan and to help enroll children in the plan, should it pass.
 
Based on adjusted 2003 Census data, approximately 253,000 children in Illinois do not have health insurance. Twelve percent of children in Cook County, the state’s most populated county, are uninsured.  In Pulaski County at the southern tip of Illinois, nearly 15% of children lack health coverage.  In St. Clair County, 9.3% of children do not have health insurance.  In Sangamon County, home to Illinois’ capitol, 8.6% of kids are not insured.  Even in suburban DuPage County, one of the twenty-five wealthiest counties in the United States, 7.2% of children have no health insurance.  
 
The Governor’s All Kids program would offer children access to comprehensive health care, including doctor’s visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care and medical devices like eye glasses and asthma inhalers.
 
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% less likely than children with insurance to receive medical care for conditions like ear infections, and 30% less likely to receive medical attention when they are injured. 
 
·                    A National Health Interview Survey found that 59% of uninsured children did not see a doctor for a check-up in the past year and 38% 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 conditions.
 
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 Medicaid. 
 
For example, a family with two children that earns between $40,000 and $59,999 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 $79,999 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 check ups 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 (PCCM) 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 needed.  By ensuring patients get adequate preventative care on the front end, fewer people will need expensive specialized care or emergency care for critical conditions. 
 
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 more than $56 million in the first year by implementing the PCCM model in all state health programs but those that serve seniors and the blind.
 
The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians full statement of support follows:
 
Statement in support of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s All Kids proposal.
Attribute to Illinois Academy of Family Physicians president Fredric D. Leary, M.D.
 
“The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP), representing over 2,100 practicing family physicians throughout Illinois, is pleased that the Blagojevich administration has proposed a system to provide all Illinois children with health care insurance.
 
Many family physicians are part of the safety net which provides care to those who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. The Governor’s All Kids plan will provide stability and peace of mind for parents so their children can get the care they need and deserve.  It will also help physicians meet the needs of those children.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has a proposal for ensuring health care coverage for all U.S. residents (http://www.aafp.org/x13723.xml).   The principles of the All Kids program meet our goals for providing affordable basic services for children. 

We look forward to collaborating with the Governor, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and the General Assembly to work out the details of the All Kids program.
 
Our hope is that the final legislation and rule-making will ensure that all children have a family physician or pediatrician as the primary care provider.   The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians also will work with all the interested parties to ensure that this new system meets the needs of the physicians who will be entrusted with the care of these precious patients.
 
As an organization, IAFP remains true to our principles of high-quality comprehensive care for our patients. In that mission, one of our prime tenets has always been access to care – and All Kids offers improved access for children in Illinois.” 
 
More information about All Kids is available online at www.allkidscovered.com.


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