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April 15, 2007

Chicago Cubs Legend Ron Santo backs Gov. Blagojevich’s historic plan to give every Illinoisan access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage

CHICAGOGovernor Rod R. Blagojevich today welcomed the support of Chicago Cubs legend and broadcaster Ron Santo for his historic plan to give every Illinoisan access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage.  Santo stood with the Governor in front of Wrigley Field to voice his support of the Governor’s “Illinois Covered” proposal to make sure Illinois’ 1.4 million currently uninsured adults have access to affordable health coverage – and to help millions of middle-class families who already have insurance afford the high cost of premiums.
“Ron really understands the challenges and costs involved with our health care crisis. He has courageously battled heart disease, cancer and diabetes. He is also a powerful force in the search for a cure as spokesman for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “Ron brings a wealth of passion and experience to our fight.”
An estimated 700,000 adults living in Illinois have been diagnosed with diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, the hormone that enables people to use energy from food.  Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which a person’s body still produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively.
The Governor’s “Illinois Covered” plan would ensure that every Illinoisan, regardless of whether they have chronic or pre-existing conditions, can get health insurance.
“I have been fortunate to have good insurance and support over the years. But I know there are so many people out there who don’t have insurance or struggle with the cost of their health care,” said Santo. “People need to be able to see doctors and get the care they need without having to worry about going broke. The Governor’s plan will make it possible for so many people to get healthy and stay that way.”
Under Gov. Blagojevich, Illinois has expanded access to healthcare to over 560,000 more people, and became the first state in the nation to provide access to comprehensive health insurance to every uninsured child in the state through “All Kids.”  As a result, the Kaiser Family Foundation ranked Illinois #1 in the nation for adding working parents to healthcare for 3 years in a row, and credited Illinois for sparking a national movement to provide healthcare to all children.
While the Governor’s “All Kids” plan, which took effect last year, extended coverage to all children in the state, approximately 1.4 million adults in Illinois are currently uninsured.  A majority, roughly 75 percent, are from families with moderate incomes or higher.  The Governor’s “Illinois Covered” plan will provide affordable coverage to the uninsured and will also help many middle-income families and small businesses that are currently enrolled in health insurance plans save thousands a year on healthcare costs.  The plan will also reform the existing healthcare system to improve quality and require more accountability.
To enable the state to help families afford healthcare, Gov. Blagojevich has proposed a Tax Fairness Plan that would change Illinois’ corporate tax structure – one of the most regressive and unfair to working families in the nation.  In 1977, the corporate share of the state income tax was 21 percent, while individuals paid 79 percent. Today, the corporate share is 12 percent, and people pay 88 percent. In fact, the average taxpayer in Illinois pays $1,500 in state income taxes while over 12,500 of the largest companies that do business in Illinois pay on average $151 in corporate income taxes. 
The Governor’s Tax Fairness Plan would replace the current loophole-riddled corporate income tax with a Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) that has been embraced by many economists because of its broad base and low rates.  States including Washington, Delaware and Hawaii have had a GRT for years, and, recently, Ohio and Texas have adopted a form of the tax.  The GRT will only apply to businesses that make more than $2 million each year, which means 85 percent of all businesses in Illinois will be exempt. Exports will not be taxed.  The plan also mitigates costs being passed on to consumers by excluding certain goods, such as retail food and pharmaceuticals.
By asking businesses that participate in Illinois’ $1 trillion marketplace to pay their fair share, Illinois can make historic investments to help middle-class and working families get the access they need to affordable health coverage, quality education, and property tax relief.


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