Thursday, October 20, 2005

House Guest - Lou Lang (with bonus angle)

Since I was pretty certain that regardless of the topic he chose to discuss, today's guest would have some compelling comments, I was eager to have Rep. Lou Lang contribute to the blog. And true to his word, today we have his first visit to the Dome-icile.

But little did I know that in Lou's submission, he would be giving me the one of the biggest political stories of the year. Yep, that's right - peace is in the valley, love is in the air, the Sox are in the World Series, and...Lang and the Governor are on the same page.

You'd have to be living under a rock to miss the fact that Lang has been all over the Governor like a like a hungry man at a buffet. But according to his post, Lang is the sponsor of the Governor's ubiquitous All Kids proposal. So either directly or indirectly, the two are talking and have found a common cause on which they can join forces.

I would imagine that this is a good development for both of them as well as for the party as a whole. And I give sincere credit to both of them for getting it done. But you have to wonder what's next, Jack Franks carrying the Governor's campaign finance reform bill?

Anyway, without further delay, Looooooooooooooooou Lang:

Health Insurance for Every Child that Every Parent Can Afford
New Program Would Be a First in the United States

By State Representative Lou Lang (D-Skokie)

Illinois may soon be the first state in the nation to provide affordable, comprehensive health insurance for every child in the state.

I am sponsoring a plan to ensure that every child in Illinois has access to affordable health insurance. Of the 253,000 children in Illinois without health insurance, more than half come from working and middle class families who earn too much to qualify for other government programs, like KidCare, but too little to afford private health insurance.

The program—All Kids—would offer comprehensive health insurance to all Illinois children, with parents paying monthly premiums and co-payments for doctors visits and prescription drugs at rates they can afford.

Last year, health care costs for the average working family out-paced inflation. These costs pushed middle-income families beyond their budgets. Accelerating costs also pushed many employers to either cut benefits or shove premium increases onto their workers.

All Kids would offer children access to comprehensive health care, including doctors visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, vision care, dental care and medical devices like eyeglasses and asthma inhalers.

Parents will pay monthly premiums and co-payments for doctor visits and prescriptions, based on a family’s income. For example, a family with two children that earns between $40,000 and $59,000 a year will pay a $40 monthly premium per child, and a $10 co-pay per physician visit. A family with two children earning between $60,000 and $79,000 will pay a $70 monthly premium per child, and a $15 co-pay per visit.

For preventative care visits, such as annual immunizations and regular check-ups and screenings for vision, hearing, appropriate development or preventative dental, there will be no co-pays. Contrasted with typical private insurance premiums of $100 to $200 a month, or $2,400 for each child annually, premiums for middle-income families will be significantly more affordable.

The difference between parents’ monthly premiums and the actual program cost—expected to be $45 million in the first year—the state will pay. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services expects the state can pay those costs with savings generated by leveraging the state’s Medicaid program negotiating power.

By providing patients preventative care on the front-end, fewer will need expensive specialized care or emergency care later. For example, infants with stomach flu (gastroenteritis) who receive appropriate primary care can avoid hospitalization for dehydration. Furthrmore, early treatment of children who have chronic illnesses, such as asthma, will also reduce expensive emergency room visits.

Additionally, research reveals, delayed treatment can lead to more complex and more expensive care later paid for by the insured. According to a recent Families USA report, the cost of paying for the uninsured will heap $1059 on to the average family insurance premium, here, in Illinois in 2005.

Twenty-nine other states, including North Carolina, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana, have saved money by reworking and leveraging their Medicaid programs. Based on independent analyses, Illinois will save $56 million in the first year.

However, beyond costs or savings—every child deserves the basic human right to grow up healthy. In addition, every adult has an obligation to advance that right.

My vow, as an adult and legislator with responsibility for Illinois children, is to push for approval of this plan by the General Assembly in November; so, the program can be up and running by July 1, 2006.


At October 20, 2005 at 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if I have 6 kids it'll cost me $40 a month per child in premiums ($240 x 12 = $2880/yr) Perhaps a cap on "family plans" eg. anything over 4 kids you quit paying. (That's $1920/yr)

I like the vision, mine was taken away.

You should look at the percentage climb between incomes and see if it reasonable. Making 60000 - 80000 does it have the same affect on their cost of living as the $10 co-pay compared to the $15 copay.

Plus there needs to be a cost of living factor in this. Living south of I-80 is much less expensive than north of I80. There's a site you can look up for cost of living. Google cost of living and you'll get it.

At October 20, 2005 at 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous is not fair that people with more children get penalized. The state should cap what a family pays, regardless of how many children it has.

And this cost should be frozen to when the child enters the program, similar to the way tuition works at the state universities. If my child starts at $40 / a month when he eneters, that should be the price until they are out of the program.

Otherwise Illinois will start screwing me by raising the cost per month little by little, just like everyone else does. And the cost of the copay too, until I can't afford it again.

At October 20, 2005 at 9:01 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Wait a minute. The Governor introduces an unprecedented program designed to provide health care to uninsured middle-class children and anon 8:46 is already complaining that Illinois is "screwing" him. Remember, the program is voluntary and if an individual family chooses not to take advantage of it then don't apply.
I am so pleased, but not suprised, that Rep. Lang is able to put aside his personal feelings and ambitions to support and even sponsor this plan. We democrats may squabble at times but when the interests of the citizens of our great state are at stake we ,unite and cooperate and work together to accomplish great things.
Lang for Governor (in 2010)

At October 20, 2005 at 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Won't Lang be too old in 2010? What is he going to be, a prairie state Strom Thurmond?

At October 20, 2005 at 10:56 AM, Blogger Bill said...

I don't know Lou's age but just from appearances I was sure he was younger than Fritchey.

At October 20, 2005 at 11:36 AM, Blogger Rep. John Fritchey said...


At October 20, 2005 at 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe a little gray and a little less on top makes the definition of old. If you remove Papa Osteman's chappeau you would see what I mean.

Also, to anon 8:37 one should add kids who are in school till they graduate from high school.

At October 20, 2005 at 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude - Lang has a grandson. Fritchey even posted it on his blog a while back... maybe to prove that Lang is old enough to be a grandfather, and he's, well, not. Ha.

At October 20, 2005 at 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back to All Kids, Rep. Lang, if you're checking in here, would you be kind enough as to discuss your apparent reconciliation with the Governor. Is it just for this issue, or something more global? Are you going to be campaigning for/endorsing him? Thanks for taking the time to post here. I respect you and Fritchey both.

At October 20, 2005 at 4:38 PM, Blogger Lou Lang said...

Thanks for all of the conversation about this important topic. There IS a cap limiting payments for premiums to TWO KIDS unless the income is over $100K. As for my relationship with the Governor, is is well known that we have had our problems. These have been relative to important differences on style and policy. I have always supported him when he is right and I will always reserve the right to disagree when I believe he is wrong. On the issue of "ALL KIDS",, he is 100% on the mark and I will continue to speak out. This type of program is exactly why we worked so hard to elect a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic Governor.

As for my support for the Governor, I am a DEMOCRAT-PERIOD! I am proud of much of the work turned out by state government over the past three years and we must do all we can to work together to continue the progress we have made and make other changes necessary to make Illinois the leader in every important area of policy. I will stand with ANY DEMOCRAT, in fact, I will stand with ANYONE who makes that committment.

At October 20, 2005 at 6:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
. . . Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

Folks, please look at the date of the above quote. Two hundred plus years ago, there were obviously people standing around with their hand out expecting somebody else to provide for their support.

I'm not sure where it is written that the 'haves' should support the 'have nots'. However, when they do, it just doesn't seem to be enough.

The earlier responders to this post seemed to be complaining that they were going to be penalized for having TOO many kids. Well, duh. Why did you have them if you couldn't support them.

The whole scenario seemed to remind me of the story of the school district that was having an attendance problem. It was deemed by the powers that be that maybe if we paid the students a token amount that possibly they would be more prone to attend class. The board decided on a remunerance of fifty cents a day to each student who attended class.
The students went up in arms because, "That's not enough".
The moral of the story is, they didn't have to be paid anything but what was offered was 'NOT ENOUGH'.
Does this sound familiar to the 'All Kids' opponents?
Why should the get anything, let alone not enough?

My proposal, let my taxes go to benefit the infrastructure of the people that pay the taxes. Let those that do not have the knowledge to know the costs of having a family, and, for the most part, do not pay taxes, experience those costs without detriment to those of us that do.

My opinion, let the 'All Kids' legislation die. And, for that matter, let all entitlement programs die. They're just not fair to the people that are willing to provide for themselves.

At October 21, 2005 at 7:29 AM, Blogger WWDMD said...

anon 6:39
Does your "entitlement" program include golden parachutes for motorola, how bout tax incentives for boeing and 200 people that came here? i like the breaks given to "sue the dino."...lets help dead bones but not alive children.

At October 21, 2005 at 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not that I always agree with them but, govermental tax incentives given to corporations help drive the economy of any given area. In the case of Boeing, Chicago itself. Supposedly, that will offset, or at least equal, any lost tax revenues.
The cost of golden parachutes comes directly from the shareholders pockets. You have a choice of whether or not you want to be a shareholder in that company. In the case of govermental handouts, the taxpayers are the shareholders and foot the bill for all entitlements. You don't have any choice of whether you want to own the stock or not. Your only option is to voice an opinion at the polls after the fact. Kinda reminds me of the proverbial barn door.

At October 21, 2005 at 2:37 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Anon 10:07 makes a good point. The citizens are the shareholders and they have voted. Illinois is a blue state and the majority of citizens have elected candidates that they believe will institute changes that they feel are necessary and warranted. Recent polls show that 67% of all voters favor school funding reform even if it means higher taxes. A large majority of the voting age public feels that access to quality health care (insurance) is the most important issue facing our state. They look to their elected leaders to get things done and slowly but surely things are getting done. Education funding has increased more in the last 3 years than under Edgar and Ryan combined. Now ,with kidscare, every child in Illinois will have at least a chance to get quality health care. Now, that the inherited $5 billion deficit problem has been addressed I am hopeful that our legislative and executive officials will come together to address other important issues like escalating property taxes, the environment, job creation, and other crucial issues. The future looks bright....and the Sox will win the world sreies. What a great time to be alive and living in Illinois!

At October 25, 2005 at 1:29 PM, Blogger Extreme Wisdom said...

For those of you interested in stopping "All Kids," I have my sound bite with Sen. Rauschenberger (1.3 meg) and a flyer for you to send to John & his compatriots in the House & Senate.

At October 30, 2005 at 10:35 AM, Anonymous Big "d" said...

Lou Lang- my hero! Lou glad you are able to put your differences aside with the Gov. to promote and support a very worthwhile law.


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