All Kids Plan

By: Rebekah Baum
By: Rebekah Baum

Many say the program would provide a lifeline to a quarter of a million children but others say it could be deadly to the states budget.

"He wants the political benefit of a new expansion of health care--but he doesn't know how to pay for it--so it's almost a made up revenue stream."

State Representative Dave Winters say the governor's all kids plan would be using money that the state simply doesn't have.

"Very few people are dying because they don't have access to the medical community. But the question is, how do we fund this? And the income stream that the Governor has proposed--we don't think it's a viable one," says Winters.

Under the plan, the state would cover the difference between what parents contribute in monthly premiums and the actual cost of providing health care for each child, expected to be $45 million in the first year. The governor says savings would be generated by implementing a primary case management model, or PCCM, meaning every child would have a primary physician to manage their case.

"A family doctor who will then try to deal with them up front, keep them healthier so they don't end up at emergency rooms--that their illness is taken care of earlier and more cheaply," says Winters.

Winters says switching to that model would cost the state at least $100 million in the first year so his suggestion--reform Medicaid to PCCM.

"Then maybe in the 2nd or 3rd year, once the model is working, and doctors are signed up--and we can see the actual savings--that this might be a potential expansion we could support--but we can't put the cart before the horse," says Winters.

State Representative Chuck Jefferson thinks the program is a step in the right direction .

"If in fact Illinois can afford this program...so I'm still looking to see how we're going to fiscally pay for this to make sure we aren't taking money from one fund to support another fund. I think it's a great program-- I think we need to make sure we have the dollars in place," says Jefferson.

Both representatives say there are still many questions that need to be answered.

A study released today by a Washington non-profit group called Families USA, says the governor's plan would generate $87 million in economic activity. The boost, it says, would come from additional Federal Medicaid funding, which would be used by doctors and hospitals to buy supplies and pay wages.


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