Dr. King also said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”
In our Illinois, everyone should have access to decent healthcare.
Twelve years ago, when I walked 167 miles across Illinois, I met a young mother in Mendota who worked full-time as a waitress. She didn’t have health insurance.
That wasn’t right then and it’s not right now. Hundreds of thousands of working people in Illinois today do not have health coverage.
Fortunately, thanks to President Barack Obama, we now have the Affordable Care Act, which will improve the health of the people of Illinois and create thousands of jobs.
But to make this a reality, we must act now. We have work to do.
So I call on the General Assembly to increase access to health coverage for the uninsured through Medicaid and to create the Illinois Health Insurance Exchange.
I want to thank Speaker Mike Madigan for his commitment to ensure that we reap the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. And to the members of the Legislative Black Caucus, thank you for making sure it’s “everybody in and nobody left out.”
We also share a vision of an Illinois where every child is prepared to succeed.
That starts with education reform. Four years ago, Illinois was behind.
But now we’re setting the reform agenda for the nation.
I signed into law education reforms that put the students of Illinois first.
These reforms have improved school report cards, so that parents are empowered with more information about the schools that educate their kids.
These reforms also set clear benchmarks for teacher evaluation and put performance above tenure.
In addition to these reforms, we’ve invested $45 million to build early childhood education centers in high-need communities across Illinois, including in Carpentersville, Dolton, and Cahokia.