koehler75x75SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler's plan to create state-run health insurance exchanges has passed the Illinois Senate and now moves to the House for further consideration.

One of the most important pieces of the federal Affordable Care Act is health insurance exchanges. These exchanges are the marketplaces where private individuals and small businesses can go to purchase their health insurance. Illinois has so far failed to create an exchange, leaving the important program to an agreement between the governor's office and the federal government.

"A one-size-fits-all approach just doesn't work well when it comes to something as important as health care," Koehler said. "We need a plan that can meet the unique geographic and demographic needs of Illinois."

Koehler's plan, House Bill 3227, establishes the following:

  • Illinois will have a state-run health insurance exchange beginning January 1, 2015. It will be an online marketplace that will allow consumers to compare insurance prices, in much the same way that websites like Orbitz and Travelocity allow people to compare airfares.
  • The Department of Insurance will review and recommend the health insurance plans that will be available on the exchange. All plans must meet state and federal insurance guidelines.
  • An 11-member Exchange Board, appointed by the governor, will certify all plans approved by the Department of Insurance.
  • Health insurance plans and dental plans must be available to individuals and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees in 2014. In 2016, businesses that have up to 100 employees will also qualify.
  • The health insurance exchange will be paid for by Illinois health insurance companies, not taxpayer dollars or a fee on consumers.
Category: Press Releases

eatlocalSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) has passed legislation out of the Senate that will encourage Illinois residents to buy local by making the first Saturday of each month “Eat Local, Buy Illinois Products Day.”

Illinois Products Days will fit into the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s larger challenge to get more people to buy Illinois products. According to the department, if each household in Illinois spent $10 on Illinois products each week, the people of Illinois would be reinvesting more than $2.4 billion in the state economy each year.

“When you buy Illinois products, you put money right back into your friends and neighbors’ pockets,” Koehler said. “People talk a lot about outsourcing – think of this as insourcing.”

Several years ago, the General Assembly passed a law creating an Illinois products logo – a special design used to indicate products grown or produced right here in Illinois. Now that it’s easy to identify Illinois products, Koehler wants to encourage people to do more.

“Even if it’s just once a month, try to go to a restaurant that cooks food raised by local farmers,” Koehler said. “Go to a farmers market. Go to a grocery store that labels the food it gets from local producers. There are so many ways to give back to local businesses. Let’s create jobs here in Illinois.”

Koehler’s plan, House Bill 1272, has passed both chambers of the General Assembly and now goes to the governor for his approval.

Category: Press Releases

GMOlabelSPRINGFIELD – Earlier this year, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) introduced legislation that would require companies to label genetically engineered foods. Knowing that both companies that produce food and health advocacy groups had major concerns about the proposal, he chose to avoid calling a vote so that the issue could be more thoroughly discussed during a series of hearings.

"This legislation isn't about passing a value judgment on genetically engineered food," Koehler said. "It's just about giving consumers information so that they can make their own choices."

Hearings will occur this summer at the following times and locations:

Date: June 20, 2013
Location: Illinois State University, Old Main Room at the Bone Student Center
Time: 10 a.m. to noon

Date: August 7, 2013
Location: Southern Illinois University Carbondale (location to be announced)
Time: noon to 2 p.m.

Third meeting:
Mid-September in Chicago (additional details to be announced)

Category: Press Releases

koehler75x75The Federal Emergency Management Agency and its Illinois counterpart have opened Disaster Recovery Centers today in several areas affected by recent flooding.

Services available at the DRCs include help applying for disaster assistance and other relief programs from agencies such as the U.S. Small Business Administration, state and local agencies, and volunteer organizations. To be eligible for federal assistance, residents must apply with FEMA even if they already have given information to other agencies.

For 46th District residents, the Disaster Recovery Center is located at the Fulton County Health Department, 700 E. Oak St., Canton, IL 61520. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

Category: News

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
M113 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8250

Peoria Office:
400 NE Jefferson, Suite 200
Peoria, IL 61603
(309) 677-0120