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June 20, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich gives $50 gas cards to families of the next 1,000 kids enrolled in All Kids
Governor gives PATH Award in recognition of 1,000 Health Kids and Families

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today joined Resurrection Health Care and the Sun Times to announce that the families of the next 1,000 kids enrolled in All Kids will receive a $50 gas card. Today in over 50 locations in the Chicago area, Resurrection Health Care partnered with the Chicago Sun-Times to sign up more than 1,000 kids for All Kids, a program created by Governor Blagojevich that helps uninsured children in Illinois have access to comprehensive, affordable healthcare through the 1,000 Healthy Kids and Families Campaign. 
The Governor also presented Resurrection Health Care and the Cyrus Freidheim, publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times, with a People are Today’s Heroes (PATH) Award for their admirable work in this effort and urged parents around Chicago to visit one of the locations sign their children up to receive important preventative care and medical services that will keep them healthy. The goal of the 1,000 Healthy Kids and Families Campaign is to get 1,000 uninsured children signed up for the Governor’s All Kids program on Saturday. 
“During these hard economic times we are faced with difficult decisions: pay the mortgage or pay rising insurance premiums.  Fill the car with gas or buy prescriptions,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “But because of the All Kids program, healthcare for your children is not one of those tough choices. Today we are giving parents an even greater incentive to sign their kids up for All Kids. We are giving the families of the next 1,000 kids enrolled in All Kids a $50 gas card to fill up their next tank.”
When Gov. Blagojevich launched All Kids, it was estimated that approximately 250,000 children in Illinois did not have health coverage.  Since then, about 200,000 children have been enrolled in All Kids.  Currently, over 1.4 million children are enrolled in All Kids at all income levels.
“In Illinois, under the leadership of Governor Blagojevich we don’t just talk the talk – we’re walking the walk.  The Governor places healthcare amongst the highest of his priorities, recognizing that all children deserve comprehensive health coverage.  His leadership has been the driving force behind this tremendously successful program that now covers 1.4 million children,” said Barry S. Maram, director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.  “While other states have been reducing programs and eligibility, Illinois has received national recognition for our innovative programs, and we have been ranked first in the nation for signing families up for healthcare coverage.”
“We thank the Governor for his leadership in creating the All Kids program.  Resurrection Health Care and our campaign partners are committed to continuing our cooperation with Director Barry Maram, and the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services to increase All Kids enrollment.  The 1000 Healthy Kids and Families Campaign is only the beginning of a long-term effort to achieve our shared goal of providing health insurance to every child in Illinois,” said Father Michael Place, STD, Senior Vice President, Social Mission & Ministerial Development.
“It is an honor to have the Sun-Times as a partner of this great cause that ensures all Illinois children have access to health care. We are pleased that Governor Blagojevich is as dedicated to kids’ health care as we are and worked so hard in creating the All Kids program,” said Cyrus J. Freidheim, Jr., Publisher, Chicago Sun-Times.
When a child does not receive proper preventative care through regular doctor visits, a small medical concern can quickly become a serious health problem that may require more expensive emergency room visits.  Evidence has shown that children with healthcare coverage perform better in school because they are healthy and attend classes more often.
The Kaiser Family Foundation found that uninsured children are 70 percent less likely than children with insurance to receive medical care for conditions like ear infections, and 30 percent less likely to receive medical attention when they are injured.
The comprehensive health insurance provided by All Kids covers doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care and medical devices like eyeglasses and asthma inhalers.  Parents pay monthly premiums that are based on income levels and are therefore more affordable than private insurance rates.
Since Gov. Blagojevich took office, over 720,000 Illinoisans have signed up to receive healthcare coverage, including 410,000 children.  They emphasis the Governor placed on healthcare has led to Illinois being recognized nationally as a healthcare leader:
  • In January 2007, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, one of the nation’s most respected independent health policy research organizations, released a report crediting the Blagojevich Administration for sparking a national movement to provide healthcare to all children.
  • In June 2005, the Kaiser Commission ranked Illinois as first in the nation at signing families up for healthcare coverage.
  • In July 2007, the National Academy of State Health Policy brought representatives from California, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington to Illinois so that they could learn from the success of the Governor’s All Kids program.
On Saturday, parents can visit one of over 50 locations in the Chicago area that are listed on the Sun-Times Web site.  For those unable to visit any of the Chicago sign-up locations on Saturday, more information can be found online at www.allkids.com or by calling the All Kids Hotline:
1-866-ALL-KIDS (1-866-255-5437).


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