Illinois Launches Children’s Health Insurance Program
All Kids, the new Illinois health insurance program for children, began July 1, the Los Angeles Times reports (Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times, 7/9).
Under All Kids, parents of uninsured children can pay a monthly income-based premium for health insurance that in most cases will cost less than private health coverage (California Healthline, 6/14).
According to the Times, some critics "question whether All Kids ... will be able to deliver on its promise" to provide health insurance for all uninsured Illinois children. In addition, although state officials estimate that All Kids will cost $45 million in the first year, critics "fear the program could end up costing more than expected, which could strain an already tight state budget," the Times reports.
State Sen. Peter Roskam (R) said, "We've seen lots of promises with All Kids and little else," adding, "How much of this is politics, and how much of this is trying to do the right thing?"
Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), who proposed All Kids, said, "To me, health care is a fundamental human right." He added, "This is an affordable health care program, not a free one."
Mark Rosenberg, past president of the Illinois chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said, "It's something we've needed for years."
However, Peter Eupierre, president of the Illinois State Medical Society, said, "We have trouble with the state Medicaid program paying bills on time. We haven't been told if patients are going to know where to go for treatment or how we're supposed to deal with referrals." He added, "There are too many unanswered questions for our comfort."
At least eight other states have considered programs similar to All Kids, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 7/9).