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In Alton, Blagojevich pushes health insurance plan

(UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

Alton, Ill. – Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was in the Metro East Wednesday to promote a health care plan that would be funded by higher business taxes.

The Governor wants to offer low-cost health insurance to the 1.4 million Illinoisians he says are not covered.

To pay for it, Blagojevich wants more than $8.5 billion in new business taxes.

In Alton Wednesday he told supporters health care is the state's moral obligation.

"Every one of us in government took an oath of office on the Holy Bible," Blagojevich said. "We swore under God that we would do our duty for the people of Illinois. And what's at stake in this discussion is whether or not those are empty words, or whether or not we really mean it."

However the plan is meeting vehement opposition from the state's business community.

Many business leaders say higher taxes will mean higher prices and job cuts.

Jane Saale heads Cope Plastics in Alton, which provides private insurance to its employees. Saale said the taxes would put her business at a competitive disadvantage.

"We're going to suffer about a 20 percent reduction in available funds for our salaries, benefits and our gain sharing programs here," Saale said.

So it's a substantial and tremendous effect for my company.

However Blagojevich said the plan will not apply to businesses that have less than $2 million in annual sales.