The Illinois Legislature passed a bill to subsidize health insurance purchases by low-income families by an estimated $45 million in the first year and increase enrollment of currently qualified children in Medicaid and other safety-net plans. Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich championed the legislation, which passed the House 79-28 and the Senate 32-23. Parents who can't afford private insurance but don't qualify for Medicaid will be able to buy state-subsidized health coverage for their children with income-based copayments and deductibles. The governor's office said the state will subsidize the plan using its clout to negotiate lower rates with health plans and by shifting enrollees in existing state-subsidized plans into managed care. Critics questioned the state's ability to pay for the expansion and said the plan lacked necessary details. An estimated 253,000 children in Illinois don't have health insurance coverage. -- by Melanie Evans
Ill. OKs bill to expand children's healthcare coverage
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