Lost in Translation
In its national round-up, U.S. News and World Report leads off by calling the program 'a costly safety net for Illinois kids', saying:
Other states are sure to be watching closely as Illinois implements an ambitious plan to provide health insurance for all children in the state, including those from middle-class families.
The new law, signed last week by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is the most sweeping and comprehensive in the nation. It aims to extend health coverage to 250,000 children, half of them from families that earn over $40,000 a year.
With its price tag of $45 million for just the first year, the law could seriously strain the state's already tight budget. And critics worry that residents from other states will flock to Illinois to collect benefits.
As usual, there is a political twist. Blagojevich, who pushed the bill, has recently been involved in a federal investigation of hiring practices. Republicans charge--and Blagojevich denies--that the bill is a way of diverting attention from the controversy.
Things weren't much better closer to home. The Champaign-Urbana-based News-Gazette (by the way, that's as many hypens as you're likely to see in a row) focused more on the press release than the substance of the bill, pointing out that the release was actually wordier than the enacted new law.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich this week issued what was probably the longest press release The News-Gazette Capitol bureau has seen since it reopened in July 2000.
The 8-page doozy of a release announced the governor's signing of the All Kids legislation, designed to make sure no child in Illinois goes without health insurance.
It contained supportive quotes from no fewer than 34 different individuals, plus the governor.
Not counting the 50 or so words in the headline portion, the release contained 3,980 words (according to the word count tool in Microsoft Word.)
That's more words than in the Declaration of Independence (1,337), the Articles of Confederation (about 3,400) or the 1783 Treaty of Paris (about 2,000).
The governor's press release for the signing of All Kids contained even more words than the number of words added to state statutes in order to enact the new law (2,227).