October 26, 2005

Legislators in Veto Session... AllKids hot issue

The General Assembly met Tuesday for the start of the veto session which is to run through Thursday, then resume Tuesday, Nov. 1, for three more days.
A plan to cover uninsured children is undoubtedly the hot topic before the General Assembly today, said State Senator Gary Dahl.

“But, if I were asked to vote on it today, I would have to vote no,” the Granville Republican noted Monday, prior to the start of the six-day fall veto session, which got under way this morning.

“I know nothing about the governor’s All Kids healthcare insurance program. There’s thousands of questions and no answers. What we know about it is what you know — what’s in the newspapers about it,” he added.

“You’d think he’d come up with a really good, viable plan for children and their families, and legislators would work on it — work the bubbles out, get a good plan and get it going, before he did the round-the-state publicity thing promoting it.”

The All Kids program, covering about 125,000 children, is estimated to cost taxpayers $45 million the first year, and upwards of $100 million. The Blagojevich Administration proposes to pay for the program by moving a good share of the state’s Medicaid recipients into a managed care system, Dahl’s office noted in a prepared release.

There are concerns, though, that expanding the Medicaid system will further delay payments to state healthcare providers. Illinois currently owes $1.5 billion to healthcare providers throughout the state, the release added.

“The governor has just a ton of people promoting this program,” Dahl said. “He’s pulling out all stops. He’s got 200 endorsements, supposedly, but now people are saying they didn’t agree to endorse it.

“I have no idea how you stop this — it’s all abut the next election, and has nothing to do with the kids. A year ago, during my very first day on the Senate floor, it became very obvious it’s all about the next election.”
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And meanwhile, the trial of former Illinois Governor George Ryan continues. A good spot to keep abreast of it's progress is at CBS WBBM channel 2's Ryan Trial Blog.

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