Illinois: Governor's Plan to Help HIV/AIDS Community
March 28, 2007
Although many details remain to be finalized, Gov. Rod Blagojevich's proposed health care initiative, Illinois Covered, would reportedly have a positive impact on state residents living with HIV/AIDS. The plan would offer universal health care on a sliding scale for adults lacking coverage. It follows the governor's All Kids initiative, which made coverage available to all Illinois children.
Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), who is familiar with Illinois Covered, said, "The biggest thing that will help people, whether they are people with HIV or people with cancer, or any other pre-existing conditions, is that all people would be covered regardless of past medical history, and that is tremendously important."
The governor's office estimates that 1.4 million Illinois residents are uninsured. AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) estimates that some 20,000 state residents with HIV/AIDS would receive comprehensive benefits once the plan is operating.
AFC's executive director, Mark Ishaug, responded to the proposal with a statement saying, "Quite simply, the governor's health care expansion plan has the potential to reverse the course of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Illinois."
Harris said the new plan "will help pay for testing. It will help pay for care and treatment. It will help get people's viral load down, and all of those are very important for people leading healthy lives."
The plan would be partially funded by a 3 percent tax on businesses that have 10 or more employees but do not offer insurance. Existing federal Medicaid, and health care funds would also help finance it.
Windy City Times (Chicago)
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