CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today called on Illinois’ Congressional Delegation to work with his Administration to bring more federal funding to state healthcare programs by revising the formulas used to allocate the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funds. The current formulas punish states like Illinois that have worked aggressively to expand access to healthcare to more citizens, and instead prioritize funding based on which states have the highest uninsured populations. The Governor’s announcement today came as healthcare leaders and state officials around the nation discussed the importance of the SCHIP program during the Campaign for Children’s Health Care’s National Town Hall Meeting on Children’s Health Coverage, held at 35 locations nationwide, including Springfield and Chicago in Illinois.
“Here in Illinois, we have developed and implemented innovative plans to expand access to healthcare over the last four years,” said Governor Blagojevich. “It is time for the federal government to recognize and reward states that are expanding healthcare to those who need it, rather than continue the outdated practice of pouring resources into states that have not taken action on their own to close the uninsured gap. I look forward to working with members of Illinois’ Congressional Delegation to make sure the federal government looks at states’ level of commitment to healthcare access when deciding what level of support to send from Washington.”
The current SCHIP formula, which is partially based on the number of low-income children who do not have healthcare, penalizes Illinois for taking action to provide healthcare to more children. Governor Blagojevich today called on the Illinois Congressional Delegation and the U.S. Congress to revise the formula to be based on the total number of low-income children in the state and number of children and parents covered.
The Campaign for Children’s Health Care organized today’s National Town Hall Meeting on Children’s Health Coverage to raise awareness about the SCHIP program and to draw attention to children who are still uninsured and need access to quality health care coverage. Barry Maram, Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, attended the Town Hall Meeting at St. Anthony Hospital in Chicago on behalf of the Governor, and Anne Marie Murphy, Special Assistant to the Governor for Healthcare Policy, attended today’s Town Hall Meeting at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.
On Tuesday, 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. Over the last year, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have followed Illinois’ lead to provide healthcare to all uninsured children, and earlier this week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his proposal to do the same.
Shortly after taking office in 2003, the Gov. Blagojevich 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.
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. 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.