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April 8, 2008

“Dying for coverage” study results highlight need for comprehensive healthcare reform in Illinois
Governor’s Illinois Covered budget proposal would continue to provide healthcare coverage to those in need; prevent crisis and tragedy for individuals and families

SPRINGFIELD – The newly-published state-by-state “Dying for Coverage” study by Families USA highlights the incredible tragedies that the uninsured face and further validates the need for comprehensive healthcare reform through proposals like Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Illinois Covered plan.

Among the state-level findings of the study by the national healthcare advocacy group:

·        Families USA estimates that more than 18 working-age Illinoisans die each week due to lack of health insurance

·        In 2006, the total estimated deaths were 960 people in Illinois

·        Between 2000 and 2006, the estimated number of adults between the ages of 35 and 64 in Illinois who died because they did not have health insurance was more than 6,100

·        Across the United States in 2006, twice as many people died from lack of health insurance as died from homicide

“While the results of this study are particularly shocking, we have long been familiar with the significant challenges faced by the uninsured in Illinois. Healthcare is becoming a crisis nationwide and our state is not alone,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “That’s why expanding healthcare coverage to those in need has continued to be a priority for me and my administration. While healthcare reform has been a topic of conversation on the presidential campaign trail, we can be proud that in Illinois we have made significant progress in the fight for the uninsured.”

During the Blagojevich administration, more than 750,000 more people have gained healthcare coverage, including: 414,000 more children; 259,200 more parents; 103,800 more seniors and others.

Under Gov. Blagojevich’s leadership, Illinois was the first state in the nation to offer universal health care coverage to children, through the All Kids program. For such efforts, Illinois has been recognized as a national leader by organizations such as the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Recently, Gov. Blagojevich expanded the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program to all uninsured women in Illinois between the ages of 35 and 64, regardless of income level. Also, the FamilyCare program for parents was expanded up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, to provide access to quality, affordable healthcare for both low- and middle-income parents that are uninsured. Parents pay monthly premiums based on family income.

In his recent budget address, Gov. Blagojevich continued to press for the needs of the uninsured. His Illinois Covered proposal, has several components including:

·        Illinois Covered Assist – This new program would provide healthcare for Illinoisans living in poverty who are not otherwise eligible for state healthcare programs. This expansion will provide healthcare to a quarter million adults. Participants will be assured a medical home at community health centers and health clinics, and will also receive certain hospital benefits, disease management, mental health services, substance abuse treatment and prescription drug benefits.

·        Illinois Covered Rebate – This program would provide financial assistance to Illinoisans to help alleviate the increasing cost of health insurance premiums.

·        Illinois Covered Choice  – This expansion would allow small businesses and individuals the opportunity to buy into guaranteed, affordable private plans regardless of health status or income level.

For more information about the Families USA “Dying for Coverage” report, please visit http://www.familiesusa.org/issues/uninsured/publications/dying-for-coverage.html.





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