NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 9, 2007

A universal health coverage proposal by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) has created, and its unpopularity is threatening to doom the entire health care initiative, the New York Times reports.

Under the proposed plan:

  • A new tax would be levied on the gross receipts of businesses that make more than $2 million annually.
  • The tax would range from 0.08 percent of gross receipts for businesses, such as retailers or wholesalers, to 1.95 percent for service businesses; retail sales of food and medicine would be exempt from the tax.
  • In addition, the plan would create a statewide pool of low-rate insurance plans that anyone would be allowed to purchase, and expand access to coverage for low-income state residents through a program similar to Medicaid.

However, several leaders who usually find themselves allied with the governor have expressed outright opposition to the new tax, including civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Times reports.

"For a substantial number of small businesses and many of our established businesses, the tax would be higher than the profit. That is the real problem with it," says Jackson, "We all want health care.  But business closure is not good health."

Some businesses have said they will move out of the state if the tax is imposed, and the state Chamber of Commerce has launched a campaign opposing the health care plan and tax.

Source: "Illinois Health Plan Encounters Backlash From Business Community," Medical News Today, May 9, 2007.

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