Friday, August 8, 2008

In praise of Gov. Blagojevich -- AllKids Healthcare covers 1.3 million kids, plus one more

A family I know has been without health insurance for the past seven months. They have one child. The wife has asthma and the son has ADHD.

I don’t want to name them because it is embarrassing not being able to get insurance. There is a stigma attached to it.

This week, they just got their notice from Gov. Rod Blagojevich that their son will finally be able to afford his monthly medication, and even see a dentist and an eye doctor.

Thanks to the Governor, Illinois has a program called All Kids. What that means is that the family is now able to purchase insurance for their seven year old. Get him his medications. And not have the parents dote over him when he wants to play with the other kids because the parents are worried he might trip and fall.

You may not know this if you have insurance coverage, but one trip to the emergency room can cost more than $1,000, not including the ambulance costs, and the costs of things like X-rays, medication and an examination.

Part of the problem for the family is that they lost their company health insurance because of an employment change. When they went to the same insurance company, Humana, they were denied coverage because of the medication needs of the son and the wife.

Ironically, after they were denied health insurance by Humana, Humana sent the family a letter stating that they had "pre-existing conditions," which means that those conditions cannot be used to deny them insurance within 60 days of having had insurance coverage. I know. It's laughable. The letter was sent within three weeks of the family losing insurance and one week after Human denied them insurance.

You can imagine, the family is upset with Humana, which collected thousands of dollars from them while they were covered, and then arbitrarily decided not to give the family health coverage under a “family plan.” By the time they got around to applying elsewhere, the 60-days had elapsed and Blue Cross/Blue Shield denied them coverage, too. For the same reasons. The asthma medication and the ADHD medication are not covered, they said.

A letter from the family to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan went unanswered. Of course.

Let’s face it, when it comes to the concerns of families, Lisa is too busy worrying about her own family, and her father, who happens to be the mean old Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives who stubbornly refuses to work with Gov. Blagojevich to address statewide needs like, family insurance.

Lisa Madigan is planning to run for governor, probably against Governor Blagojevich, whom her father has been undermining in Springfield.

This sounds a little harsh, but in reviewing the family’s problems, it is real clear that Gov. Blagojevich cares about families and children, and Lisa Madigan and Mike Madigan don’t care about families and children.

Why isn’t Lisa Madigan filing lawsuits against insurance companies like Humana, holding them accountable for their refusal to cover families that they already covered but are anxious to remove from their coverage rolls in order to save money.

The cost of ADHD medicine is about $140, compared to the $40 when purchased under an insurance prescription plan.

Why isn’t Lisa Madigan filing lawsuits to force the medicine companies to force them to make medicine affordable?

Millions of people in Illinois do not have health insurance, mainly because like the family I am writing about, they are self-employed. Or, they have erratic income that varies from month to month.

Or, they have been bounced from a company health plan and abused by the insurance companies that seek to insure only those people who don’t need expensive medical needs so they can profit.

In a way, the insurance companies are much like the oil companies that Lisa Madigan has targeted in a high profile publicity stunt to give her good PR so she can make herself look good when she does announce later this year her candidacy for governor.

But if Lisa Madigan really wants to be governor, maybe she should focus more on the healthcare needs of the people in Illinois, rather than on the politically charged issue of whether we have affordable gas to pump into our Hummers and luxury cadillacs and limousines.

She might figure out a way to help all of the other children who still need help to join those children who are now benefiting from basic health care, thanks to Gov. Blagojevich.

The seasoned politicians and the political pundits in the media – who all have comprehensive healthcare and could “care less” (no pun intended) about issues like health care – are all mocking and criticizing governor Blagojevich.

They say the Governor is not like all of the other politicians in Illinois.

He certainly is NOT like them.

He’s better.

Well, at least that’s the feeling of the one family that finally was told today that they can worry just a little bit less about the health concerns of their son.

Good job governor. There are more than 1.3 million other children who also have healthcare, thanks to Governor Blagojevich.

That’s worth celebrating.

Visit All Kids on the internet for more information if your child is not covered at

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