Durbin Pledges $1.6 Million for Ill. Health Insurance Pool

September 29, 2005

After months of blocking a Senate bill because he claimed it shortchanged his state, Sen. Dick Durbin announced Thursday that he has won assurances that Illinois’ state health insurance pool would get an extra $1.6 million a year in federal funding under a compromise version, according to Associated Press.

Durbin (D-Ill.) had put a hold on a measure sponsored by Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., after it had passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee on unanimous consent more than seven months ago. He lifted the hold Wednesday, his spokesman said.

At stake was more than $300 million in federal funding nationwide for the approximately 30 high-risk health insurance pools that provide coverage for those with medical conditions that make it impossible for them to get coverage in the regular market.

Durbin had argued that Gregg’s original bill would benefit smaller states at the expense of larger ones, such as Illinois, which would have suffered a funding cut of 60 percent while South Dakota’s funding would have more than doubled.

Durbin spokesman Joe Shoemaker said Illinois would get about $5.4 million under the compromise reached Wednesday night by Durbin and other lawmakers. The Gregg bill would have provided Illinois with $3.8 million.

A spokeswoman for Gregg was not immediately available for comment.

Topics Illinois

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