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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2007

Governor Blagojevich uses executive authority to bolster healthcare security for half a million people Governor vetoes $500 million in ‘pork’ and other special interest spending from budget passed by
Sen. Pres. Jones voices support for Governor’s changes

SPRINGFIELD – Joined by Senate President Emil Jones, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that his administration will pursue administrative changes to dramatically improve healthcare security for thousands of Illinois families – a critical need not addressed in the budget passed by lawmakers last week.  The Governor has expressed concern that the spending plan passed in haste by the legislature failed to address some of the most serious problems facing the people of Illinois.  The Governor also announced today he will use his veto authority to remove approximately $500 million in special ‘pork’ projects and other unnecessary spending from the $59 billion operating budget approved late last week by the General Assembly. 
 
“While the Fiscal Year 2008 budget lawmakers passed last week includes a major boost in funding for education – something we all, as Democratic leaders, have advocated for – the budget leaves some important business unfinished.  I will do what I can, through executive authority, to take care of some of the most pressing needs that were left out of the budget.  The first step will be to expand eligibility for healthcare programs that are already in place so that half a million Illinoisans will finally have access to healthcare,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “And I will veto over $500 million in pork and other non-essential spending so this budget better reflects the priorities and needs of the people of Illinois.”  
 
Using his executive authority, Governor Blagojevich will bolster state healthcare programs and give 500,000 more Illinoisans access to affordable health coverage and services, including;
 
  • Every uninsured woman in Illinois will be eligible to get screened and treated for breast and cervical cancer, greatly improving cancer outcomes and saving lives. 
 
  • Poor adults who are not eligible for Medicaid will have the chance to see a doctor regularly and get the prescription medications they need.
 
  • By changing eligibility limits for the FamilyCare program, more working and middle-class uninsured parents will receive access to health coverage at affordable rates. 
 
  • Working with the Comprehensive Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the State will make sure children in the All Kids program who have pre-existing conditions will continue to have access to affordable health insurance up to age 21.
 
  • Families struggling with the high cost of health insurance premiums will be able to apply for yearly subsidies worth 20% of their annual premiums, up to $1,000.
 
The Governor called on Senate President Emil Jones and House Speaker Michael J. Madigan to work with him in coming months to ensure adequate revenue is in place to fulfill the State’s commitments to education, healthcare and other important needs.
 
“The Governor has said he would not sign a budget that did not include his priority of health care. The four leaders knew the risk of negotiating an operating budget without the Governor in the room – I suggest today that I understand why the Governor is making this decision and I commit to working with him to fund health care within the operating budget that is on his desk.  I do not plan to override the vetoes that enable the Governor to fund healthcare.  Case Closed," said Senate President Emil Jones, Jr. 
 
The Governor’s veto will be filed later this week.
 
 
HEALTHCARE INITIATIVES

BREAST AND CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING AND TREATMENT
Screening and treatment for all uninsured Illinoisans
o Expand the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program to provide mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams and Pap tests for all uninsured Illinoisans. The program currently serves low- income, uninsured women. This expansion will provide access to screenings for an additional 261,000 women.
o If diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer upon screening, program participants will have access to coverage for treatment.

FAMILYCARE EXPANSION
Access to insurance for uninsured parents up to 400% FPL
o Illinoisans with children under the age of 19, and are under 400% of the Federal Poverty Level ($82,600 for a family of four) will have access to the FamilyCare program.

ILLINOIS COVERED ASSIST
Access to care for low-income, uninsured adults
o Provide access to a medical home with consistent primary care, a prescription drug benefit, hospital services, and disease management to uninsured Illinoisans with low incomes—under 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (currently a single person who makes less than $10,210 annually, or a couple making less than $13,690 annually).

EXPANSION OF COVERAGE FOR YOUNG ILLINOISANS
Coverage for sick or injured kids 19-21 who are too old for All Kids
o Governor will direct the Director of the Department of Insurance, who is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Comprehensive Health Insurance Program (CHIP), to develop a bridge for children with pre-existing conditions who become too old for All Kids and have no access to insurance. Premiums to these young adults will be subsidized to the age of 21.

WORKING FAMILIES PREMIUM ASSISTANCE
Help for families struggling with the high cost of insurance
o Provide annual premium subsidy up to 20% of the cost of health insurance premiums for individuals or families at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level ($61,950 for a family of four). Premium subsidies not to exceed $1,000 / year.
 
Healthcare Initiatives
 
Initiative

 

Description

 

Newly
Eligible Population

 

 

State Cost in FY08
(millions)

Breast/Cervical Cancer Screening & Treatment
Provide breast and cervical cancer screenings & treatment to all uninsured.
261,000
$50
FamilyCare Expansion
FamilyCare access to uninsured parents in Illinois up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level.
147,000
$43
 
Assist
Primary Care, Rx, Hospital
Medical home, prescription drugs and hospital reimbursement for those without access under 100% of the Federal Poverty Level.
302,000
$200
All Kids Expansion
 
Children in the All Kids program who have pre-existing conditions will continue to have access to affordable health insurance up to age 21.
7,000
$15
Working Families Premium Assistance
Premium assistance to individuals and
 families up to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level. 
$155
Total
 
717,000
$463 million
 
 
 


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