News Digest: Illinois’ health plan, Groupon’s apology, more export loans


Illinois expands  health  plan for  pre-existing conditions.

While the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote on a repeal of Health Care Reform as early as Wednesday, Illinois announced an expansion of insurance options for people with pre-existing medical conditions, the Chicago Tribune reported Monday. The Illinois Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, called IPXP, which launched in August and currently has 1,000 members, rolled out a new comprehensive plan with a $1,000 deductible aimed at residents who have been without insurance for at least six months, the Tribune said. Previously, the plan’s deductible was $2,000. For more information, visit

Groupon CEO apologizes to customers in Japan.

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason issued a   video apology  to Japan after a Groupon deal brought more sales of the holiday dish, osechi, than the restaurant could handle, leading to disappointed customers, according to an Associated Press story published in the   Chicago Tribune.  In the YouTube video, Mason outlines Groupon plan to implement capacity planning in its new and emerging global markets. He said Groupon issued an official apology earlier this month along with refunds and vouchers worth 5,000 yen (about $43).

More loans for exporting, designed to create jobs.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank announced it will increase small business loans to $6 billion this year and $9 billion in 2015 from $5 billion in 2010 to help small businesses expand their reach overseas,  the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The U.S. Export-Import Bank hopes to spur job growth by doubling exports over that period. Currently, about 1 percent of U.S. companies export merchandise, and small businesses control 30 percent of U.S. export revenue, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told the Journal.

But new export sales don’t always translate into U.S. jobs.

The Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., reported last month that U.S. companies created 1.4 million jobs overseas in 2010, compared to fewer than 1 million new positions domestically, according to an Associated Press story published in the Chicago Tribune  Dec. 28.