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MLK Jr. Day Health Check for IL

January 21, 2008

Chicago, IL – Health care is a human right, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day gives human rights activists another chance to bring the issue to the forefront. The state has unfinished business on this subject, including some failed proposals and the governor's controversial decision to expand some state coverage without legislative approval, so health care reform is expected to be back on the table at this year's General Assembly.

Marian Wright Edelman with the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) worked with Dr. King on several projects and believes his philosophy should be kept in mind in this process.

"We should be remembering, as he indicated while he was alive, that of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."

CDF backed the Congressionally-approved expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), but it was repeatedly vetoed by President Bush, who cited concerns about cost and a possible adverse impact on the private insurance market.

Edelman emphasizes that children don't have years to spare waiting for health care, and she hopes Dr. King's words spur the Illinois General Assembly into action.

"In this wonderful observance of Dr. King's birthday, in which the is nation engaged, it is so important that we follow him, rather than simply celebrate him."

Visit the CDF Web site for more information:

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - IL