SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today sent a letter to President George W. Bush urging him to put the well being of hundreds of thousands of Illinois children first, and reconsider his threat to veto the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization bill currently being considered by the U.S. Congress.
“I call on you to reconsider your threat to veto the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization bill currently being considered by Congress. The SCHIP program has been extremely successful in helping to provide healthcare for 316,781 Illinois children,” said Gov Blagojevich.
The Governor has been working tirelessly with the Illinois Delegation, as well as other Governors, to ensure that funding continues for the SCHIP program which has helped to provide healthcare for over 316,000 Illinois children. 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.
The Governor has asked Congress to move quickly to reauthorize SCHIP and revise its funding formulas. Earlier this month, both the House and the Senate passed bills which will provide substantial additional dollars to allow states to expand coverage to additional low-income children.
In January, 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 more uninsured children, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced his proposal to do the same.
Shortly after taking office in 2003, 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 316,000 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.
The text of the Governor’s letter is below:
President George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I call on you to reconsider your threat to veto the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization bill currently being considered by Congress.
Earlier this month both the House and the Senate took important steps toward expanding healthcare for children. Both the House and Senate bills provide substantial additional dollars to allow states to expand coverage to additional low-income children.
The SCHIP program has been extremely successful in helping to provide healthcare for 316,781 Illinois children.
As the former Governor of Texas, you know how important it is for states to have flexibility in implementing federal programs. This legislation maintains critical flexibilities to allow states to tailor programs to their needs instead of providing a one-size-fits-all solution.
Again, I urge you to reconsider your veto threat on the SCHIP bill and put children first.
Rod R. Blagojevich