The governor was showcasing the women's plight as an example of why he's ignoring the general assembly, which failed all year to approve his multi-billion dollar expansion of state-subsidized health insurance.I can read this as the Governor's lame attempts at making himself look like a hero. After all he's doing since after he got re-elected last year he wants to play Mr. Hero and doing so after the mess he's created for himself. He may want to present people who are opposed to him as Scrooge but I think Blagojevich is an even bigger Scrooge.
He's also preparing for a showdown in court next week with Republican businessman Ron Gidwitz and others who call the governor's expansion unconstitutional.
"It is… Scrooge-like in many ways," Blagojevich said.
A spokesperson for House Speaker Michael Madigan said the governor's focus on breast cancer and cervical cancer was misleading. He said that program was authorized by the general assembly about a decade ago. What was not authorized, he said, was the governor's unilateral order making 147,000 more people eligible for state taxpayer-paid health insurance.
"And when the general assembly refuses to pass laws that allow women like Cynthia to be able to get access to that fundamental kind of health care, then I take great pride in the fact that I go around the legislature to provide health care to women like her," Blagojevich said.
Huge amounts of tax dollars are at stake. A spokesperson for the governor this afternoon said that the breast and cervical cancer programs would cost about $50 million in this fiscal year, and $43 million in this fiscal year for other expanded health insurance programs.
Critics estimate that the total tab could be up to $367 million in a full year. Whatever the cost, the governor has not explained how the state is going to pay for all of this, and the general assembly has not appropriated money for it.
Here's another story from Clout St. at the Tribune.