Governor Pat Quinn today visited the new Ann & Robert Lurie Children's Hospital to sign three laws that will help more working families acquire insurance and stay healthy throughout their lives. These measures, all passed unanimously by the General Assembly, will help small businesses save money and provide employee health insurance; allow for CPR/AED training for middle school students; and require Illinois hospitals to promote breastfeeding.
"We want everyone in Illinois to be healthy at birth, in school and as adults," Governor Quinn said. "These common-sense laws mean better healthcare for working families and new mothers, and will provide life-saving information to our students."
Senate Bill 2885, sponsored by Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and Rep. Karen May (D-Highwood), will allow more small businesses to join together to form a Healthcare Purchasing Group (HPG). This means that small businesses that may not have been able to provide health insurance coverage individually for their employees can pool resources with other businesses to acquire affordable coverage plans for up to 2,500 participants per group. This legislation, which takes effect Jan. 1, was an initiative of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and supported by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Illinois Public Interest Research Group and Illinois Department of Insurance.
House Bill 5114, sponsored by Rep. Dan Burke (D-Chicago) and Sen. Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) provides that local school boards may allow students in grades 6-8 to receive important video instruction about CPR and AED safety. This legislation was spearheaded by Dr. George Chiampas, an assistant professor of emergency medicine and sports medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an emergency medicine physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. It takes effect immediately.
"This bill will truly make an impact and rapidly enhance survival outcomes across our state for people who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest," said Dr. Chiampas. "The reality is bystanders play a major role in survival outcomes."
House Bill 4968, sponsored by Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Chicago) and Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) recognizes the numerous health benefits of breastfeeding to newborns and requires Illinois hospitals to develop policies that promote breast milk. Hospitals will work with the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, which is supported by the World Health Organization and UNICEF to provide new mothers with information about the benefits of breastfeeding and other vital infant nutrition guidance that will help them lay the foundation for their child's health.