CHICAGO –The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, one of the nation’s most respected independent health policy research organizations, released a new report today crediting Governor Blagojevich’s administration for sparking a national movement to provide healthcare to all children. Over the last year, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have moved to provide healthcare to all uninsured children, and just yesterday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his proposal to do the same. 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. Illinois’ ranking comes as a result of Governor Rod Blagojevich’s continued efforts to expand access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare to working men and women and their children.
“Since day one, we have worked to make sure that every family in Illinois is getting the healthcare they need,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “Over the past four years, we have made it possible for every child in Illinois to see a doctor, and now, we are working toward making healthcare a reality for even more Illinoisans.”
In the report released today, “Resuming the Path to Health Coverage for Children and Parents: A 50 State Update on Eligibility Rules, Enrollment and Renewal Procedures, and Cost-Sharing Practices in Medicaid and SCHIP in 2006,” Illinois is recognized as a national leader in providing healthcare to children. The report wrote, “The Illinois All Kids program has sparked what appears to be a new movement to provide universal health coverage for children. Either independently or inspired by the bold step in Illinois, a number of other states, including Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, also have embarked on their own brands of health coverage expansions.”
"Illinois' experience underscores the pivotal role that Medicaid and SCHIP play in efforts to ensure that all children have the health coverage they need. Illinois' implementation of expanded coverage, coupled with effective outreach and family-friendly enrollment procedures, serve as a model for other states taking action to improve children's coverage," said Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
The “SCHIP Program Enrollment: June 2005 Update” report, released last month, shows that between June 2004 and June 2005, Illinois led the nation in enrolling parents in FamilyCare. The report wrote, “From June 2004 to June 2005, adult enrollment in SCHIP more than doubled in Illinois.” During that time, Illinois saw a 102 percent increase in adult enrollment. In addition, Illinois had the 3rd largest increase in the number of children enrolled in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Both Kaiser Foundation reports are available online at http://www.kff.org/about/kcmu.cfm
Shortly after taking office, 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.
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 who did not before.
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.