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Ill. governor unveils health care proposal


SPRINGFIELD, Ill.--All 1.4 million of Illinois' uninsured residents would have access to affordable health care coverage by Jan. 1, 2008, under a $2.1 billion proposal announced Sunday by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The proposal, dubbed "Illinois Covered," is expected to be introduced in the state Legislature later this week.

The governor also has launched a Web site,, to promote his proposal.

The plan would include a Massachusetts-style individual mandate by 2010 if an insufficient number of uninsured residents voluntarily sign up to participate in a statewide health insurance pool that would be created by the legislation.

However, Illinois Covered would provide subsidies to residents to make health care coverage more affordable, with families of four with incomes up to 400% of the poverty level--approximately $80,000 a year--eligible to receive such payments. Premiums would range from a low of $50 per month to a high of $470 a month.

To encourage more insurers to provide affordable health insurance to residents, Illinois Covered also would provide stop-loss coverage to insurers, paying 80% of any medical bills that exceed $40,000 a year.

In a speech Sunday in Chicago, the governor said he has identified "a new and sustainable revenue source" of funding for his proposal, which he will unveil during his fiscal 2008 budget address before lawmakers this Wednesday.

Although a spokeswoman for the governor declined to identify that source prior to his speech, other sources have suggested revenues could come from a new state sales tax that would replace the state's corporate income tax.