Universal Health Care in Illinois – What are you willing to pay asks Cafe Society?

Universal Health Care in Illinois – What are you willing to pay?

The release of Michael Moore’s new documentary, Sicko, has helped to reignite a national debate about health care coverage.  California and Massachusetts are both working on implementing universal coverage plans.  Here in Illinois, Governor Rod Blagojevich and legislative leaders are now in their eighth week of deadlock over the budget.  Among the sticking points is Blagojevich’s new health care plan, a major component of his budget proposal.  The plan, called “Illinois Covered,” is a massive initiative that claims to offer near-universal insurance coverage to uninsured and underinsured residents.

In the plan unveiled earlier this year in March, the Governor proposed financing it largely by a new tax on gross business receipts on businesses that make more than $2 million a year.  Other revenue sources include taxing businesses that do not offer insurance, eliminating additional corporate tax breaks and consolidating state funds.

The business community soon launched a campaign against the proposed plan and taxes with some corporations threatening to move out of the state. House Speaker Michael Madigan and other legislative leaders argue that Blagojevich’s plan is financially unrealistic. 

What are the pros and cons of Blagojevich’s plan?  Will it actually provide better and more health care coverage to Illinoisans?  Who should bear the cost? Will businesses tolerate shouldering the cost of “Illinois Covered”?  Will higher taxes  lead to a corporate exodus?  Should taxpayers bear more of the burden directly? How long will residents tolerate this budget gridlock?  Are we putting the high quality of health care in jeopardy?  Will the decisions made about the Governor’s plan signal the direction of the Democratic Party in Illinois?

Suggested Readings:

Blagojevich unveils health care plan

Residents want affordable health care

Illinois Covered Plan Details

Schwarzenegger Should Terminate His Health Care Plan

Illinois Tax Implosion

Café Society Locations:

7-8 p.m., Caffe De Luca, 1721 N. Damen Ave., Chicago
–7-8 p.m., Valois, 1518 E. 53rd St., Chicago
–7:30-8:30 p.m., Panera Bread, 1126 E. Walnut St., Carbondale, IL

FRIDAY   7/27
–5-6 p.m., Ron’s Barber Shop, 6041 W. North Ave., Oak Park

Café Society, a project of the Public Square at the IHC, is a project designed to foster a more robust civil society, more cohesive and interactive communities, greater media literacy, and a more informed and engaged citizenry through weekly coffee shop conversations about contemporary social issues. Current media reports (along with ample doses of caffeine) serve as stimulants for the conversations.

The Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council was adopted by the Illinois Humanities Council on December 1, 2004 and became the Public Square at the IHC. To learn more about IHC program in Chicago and around the state, check out the Calendar of Events listing on the website.

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