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Illinois Governor Pitches 'All Kids' Plan for All States

DECEMBER 12, 2005 -- Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich (D) was in Washington to promote his state's new $180 million "All Kids" health insurance program that aims to provide comprehensive health care to all uninsured children there.
Blagojevich is helping Illinois Democrats Sen. Richard J. Durbin and Rep. Rahm Emanuel promote a national version of the legislation in Congress.

About 253,000 children in Illinois do not have health insurance. About half are not enrolled in public assistance programs for which they're eligible. The other half come from families who earn too much to qualify for government-sponsored health care programs but too little to afford private insurance. A child must be uninsured for a year before becoming eligible for the program.

Parents will pay monthly premiums and co-payments for doctor visits and prescription drugs, but not for preventive care visits such as check-ups and annual immunizations. The rates for "All Kids" coverage will be based on a family's income and will be significantly less expensive than typical private insurance premiums.

About 75 percent of the program will be financed by user premiums. The difference, estimated at $45 million, will be covered by the state with savings generated by implementing a primary care case management/disease management (PCCM/DM) model for Illinois residents who are in the state's Medicaid program. The PCCM/DM model focuses on preventive health care services and seeks to avoid expensive emergency room visits and hospitalizations. The savings are estimated at $57 million for the first year.

A study released by Families USA in October, "Good for Kids, Good for the Economy," estimated that the "All Kids" program could generate $87 million in business activities and nearly $31 million in new wages in its first year.

"I think that this is a program and an idea that can be adopted in other states," Blagojevich said.

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