In June 2009, Gov. Pat Quinn’s Taxpayer Action Board offered solid proposals to streamline Illinois’ Medicaid program — it spends roughly $14 billion a year in state and federal funds — and to conserve money. Among the panel’s proposals: Expand managed and outpatient care. Shift long-term-care patients from institutional to community settings. More effectively screen out ineligible patients.
What happened? So far, not much. But that may be changing. Lawmakers are racing toward a self-imposed deadline to concoct sweeping reforms in three realms of government: Medicaid, public education and worker’s compensation. Among the ideas under discussion by legislators assigned to modernize Medicaid:
•Moving more Medicaid recipients to managed care. That means patients are assigned a “medical home” — a doctor (often in an HMO-style clinic) who oversees their care. The state’s first mandatory managed care program, to serve an estimated 40,000 elderly and disabled recipients, has been delayed and is now set to begin in March. The plan is estimated to save the state about $200 million over five years. But Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos says that there’s been “push back” from some providers and patient advocates. She has asked lawmakers for “back-up” to keep the expansion on track. That’s vital. Other states have moved more aggressively than Illinois into managed care for Medicaid recipients. Illinois needs to move faster.
•Reducing the prescription drug dispensing fee paid to pharmacists who fill prescriptions for Medicaid recipients. Hamos says the state pays $4.60 per Medicaid prescription for generic drugs and $3.40 for brand-name drugs. That’s compared to $1.36 and $1.28 under the state’s employee health care plan. The retail merchants association says paying these Medicaid fees puts Illinois in the “mainstream.” But if that’s so, it needs to move out of the mainstream and lead the way to lower fees. We say this acknowledging that pharmacists aren’t able to collect the co-pays to which they’re entitled for nearly half of Medicaid prescriptions. That’s because some recipients can’t or won’t pay.
•Tightening checks on eligibility. A U.S. Government Accountability Office report last year said 10.5 percent of federal Medicaid payments were improper — including many for ineligible recipients. That’s one reason Hamos wants lawmakers to allow DHFS to cross-check electronic data on Medicaid recipients’ income and employment to weed out ineligible enrollees. The law should allow the department to match electronic records, such as income tax returns from the Illinois Department of Revenue, with Medicaid eligibility data.
• Shifting some disabled people from costly state institutions to less expensive community care. Illinois lags the nation here too, according to a 2009 AARP report. Bottom line: Community settings “are both less costly and preferred by older adults and the physically disabled,” the governor’s Taxpayer Action Board found. In other words: This is a no-brainer, although unionized workers at state institutions historically have opposed it.
The context for the Taxpayer Action Board recommendations and the legislature’s belated interest: Illinois faces a gargantuan budget deficit that won’t be tamed unless lawmakers get serious about Medicaid reform. “It’s times like this, when we really have a budget crisis, that we should be pushing the envelope and trying to see what we can really achieve in all of the budget items,” Hamos told lawmakers.
We’re with her. Roughly one in five Illinoisans — that’s 2.6 million people — is covered by Medicaid. In 2014, perhaps another 700,000 will be eligible under the new federal health care reform law.
Illinois has dithered long enough. Lawmakers, move on Medicaid now.
And we here at Will County Watcher couldn’t agree more.
The Joliet city council would have you believe that this is some kind of world-class city, when in fact, it is quite the opposite. Besides the fact that there is little to do downtown, save for casino gambling or the Rialto Theater, in the winter time it is especially unfriendly.
First thing any newcomer would notice in the winter, is the wheelchair-bound lumbering down the side of the street. This is, of course, due to the fact that the businesses in the downtown area do little, if anything in the way of snow-removal. It would seem they all learned their craft from the South-Florida School of Snow-Removal and Hospitality. Of course, that still wouldn’t address the empty buildings that line both sides of the streets, throughout the downtown area. Is this the reason that there have been no citations issued, or action taken? Perhaps it is because the city doesn’t know exactly who to cite. After all, the city itself OWNS a lot of those buildings. Maybe it would be a conflict of interest?
Then there are the homeless. As if these people don’t have enough on their plates during the long winter, they are left out in the cold, almost intentionally, by the same city council. This year alone, when the temperature has sunk to single digits, there have been NO warnings issued.
In past years, the city got the word out that, when the temperatures were going to fall to dangerous levels, there were daytime warming centers and “cold shelter” overnight lodging, at the two homeless shelters in town. The city made it a priority to let all those in need, know when and where to go for help.
There were notices posted in the newspapers (which I’m not blaming the city for the newspapers not putting the word out), on the radio stations, and even in the local library, informing people of the dangerous weather approaching. This is no longer their policy. We’d like to ask, why that is.
But to add insult to injury, a particular shelter; The Morning Star Mission is even more inhospitable then anyone could imagine. Not only do they NOT honor, the “cold shelter” overnight lodging during the brief cold spells, they insist their “guests” PAY-TO-STAY!!! This is the same Mission who shamefully pleads for the good citizens of the area, through newspaper circulars and mailings, and even getting the local radio station to help in soliciting, to help with donations to the cause.
Where do the millions go!!!
That’s right, they receive millions in donations yearly and yet, will not provide shelter to those in need, even during the worst possible weather. This includes veterans, as well as, those who have recently lost their jobs thru the recent recession. They provide little to no help, in getting these people out of the extreme weather.
And the city council ALLOWED the mission, to deny another shelter from coming to this town.
It is time for the people to vote out those in the city council, for failing the very people, who need their help most.
And after posting this yesterday, the Herald News finally put a warning out. Thank-you HN. This of course, still doesn’t get the Mission to open their doors. Hopefully in the future, with the help of the local newspapers and readers of this blog, the Joliet City Council will do something about the “good” folks at the Mission.
Despite concerns from some parents and school officials, Joliet will allow a south side quarry to expand closer to a school and a main road. Vulcan Construction Materials plans to expand its mining operations by 10.25 acres, after the City Council approved a rezoning request Tuesday. The expansion will allow mining to continue at the site, blasted and mined since 1994, for another five to seven years, officials said. That would secure employment for about 20 employees. The mine will creep closer to Laraway School on Laraway Road. The two are separated by 31 acres of green space, which will shrink to 20 acres. However, that space is double what is allowed under the original deal the company made with the city in 1994. The expansion of the quarry continues the restrictions that were imposed in 1994, including no blasting within 500 feet of a school building, during school hours, on non-school days before 1 p.m. or after 5 p.m., or on holidays. There is to be no mining within 200 feet of any road and thorough cleaning of truck tires before trucks enter public roads.
Joliet Jake: The 20 employees they are refering to will be Illegal aliens that get subpay while doing 20 Americans out of work again…but thats just my opinion.
This could very well be the intentions of Will County, as a new mental court is now in session. I can see no good coming from such a venue.
Have we veered so far from morality as to put in jeopardy, the lives of society to placate and justify the existence of a few well-intentioned doctors and psychologists, who can only hope to convert, through medication and therapy, the uneducated, disengaged few who, for lack of a better term, are morally bankrupt?
Is this the assumed responsibility of the government, along with the medical profession, as the authority who should decide their fates, through the courts??
In fact, if given broad enough definitions and parameters, under the guise of bullying and isolation, coupled with bi-polar (would that be unbalanced?) disease, the argument could be made that an individual does not need to be incarcerated, but simply medicated.
Is this the reason that the medical profession is now considered a “job growth” field for the future? To circumvent the laws of nature, in lieu of the supposed stigmatism of labeling an individual of that society as a thief, or alcoholic, or drug addict, the politically correct thing to do is, excuse the individual on the grounds of “mental deficiency”, then court-order said individual to treatment, ‘till such time as the court deems reasonable, rather than incarceration. (This is akin to calling a terrorist, a misguided youth)
A court of law is no place for the term of politically correct. This in my mind sets a dangerous precedent.
Has society evolved passed natural law? To remove those who would cause irrefutable harm from society is the natural course of survival. Why else would there need to be laws in the first place? In creating these courts, the government has increased its power to regulate- nay- eliminate, a whole class of citizenry. And there is NO guarantee, that when the court deems these individuals ready to return to society, that they will be any more morally equipped than when they started.
Perhaps it is the notion of the government that they might control the population through courts such as these. Who among you believes that the records will be available to the public? This is where I find fault in this endeavor. It would seem far too easy for things to happen, that would never hit the light of day. The homeless would be an easy “target” for these courts. As the perpetrators of most petty crimes, and unable to afford REAL representation in court, they would fall under the category of “easily coerced” and thereby manipulated into agreeing to undergo mental therapy and medication, vs. incarceration.
Along with this, is the simple fact that some, if not most of these people would have little or no family to require the institution to answer to. These mental “patients” could then become victims to such “unfortunate” accidents as; sudden inadvertent over dosages, suicide, or even a physical accident, to which the institution, left unregulated in regards to having to answer to family, or the public, could carry on the “Kevorkian style” practice of human genocide.
It would seem the government, along with the medical profession, has taken upon itself the task of “cleansing” society, but in the politically correct fashion, through its own court system. I say this in light of the fact that, it matters not, what ethnicity, religion or even political background you come from, or aspire to. Simply put, they wish to “thin the herd” of undesirables.
Is this what’s to come??? Given that Obamacare has its “death panels”, this would seem to be the perfect addition in the other direction. Where the death panels would eliminate older white males, these “mental” courts could provide the necessary venue with regards to the younger crowd.
If you read between the lines, from an engineering point of view, it is a thing of beauty.
Simplistic in its design, once set in motion it becomes a perpetual machine, in that it creates its own supply, and in doing so, feeds its own demand.
A salmonella outbreak is being investigated after illnesses were reported in Will County and eight other Illinois counties, a state health agency said in a news release Friday. The Illinois Department of Public Health is investigating the salmonella outbreak. Many people who have become ill reported eating alfalfa sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants in Will, Cook, Kankakee, McHenry, Adams, Champaign, McLean, Peoria and Winnebago counties. The department has received reports of 46 Illinois residents becoming ill with this type of salmonella since Nov. 1. In the course of this ongoing investigation, the department is investigating alfalfa sprout producers and suppliers. Produce testing for salmonella is ongoing. If you have eaten alfalfa sprouts and become ill with diarrhea and fever. Symptoms of salmonellosis, caused by the salmonella bacteria, include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and/or stomach cramps. Illness usually develops within six to 72 hours after being exposed to salmonella bacteria and generally lasts three to seven days. Some individuals who are infected may have no symptoms at all but may still transmit the salmonella bacteria to others.
Joliet: News release
Report WSJ: FROM POST-PARTISAN TO MOST PARTISAN ‘
I’m itching for a fight on a whole range of issues.” President Barack Obama made that threat last week as Congress moved to pass his bipartisan tax-cut compromise. Why was Mr. Obama so pugilistic? It was partly to reassure unhappy Democratic liberals, especially bitter Democratic congressmen. Many are from gerrymandered districts where little news about the midterm elections has apparently penetrated. (Read full op-ed at http://bit.ly/i5ZTPO)
POLLING NEWS & NOTES: BROAD PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR EXTENDING BUSH TAX CUTS Critics on both the left and the right have assailed the President’s compromise package to extend the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers. But recent polls show the package has wide support. An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted between December 9 and 12 found that 69% of Americans favor it, including majority support for three of the plan’s four major elements. (To download PDF report, visit http://bit.ly/g210cf)
RECOMMENDED READ: THE AMPUTATED MANDATE BY THE EDITORS, NATIONAL REVIEW For supporters of Obamacare, Judge Henry Hudson’s decision yesterday that the individual mandate is unconstitutional was a firebell in the night, to borrow Jefferson’s phrase. (Read full article at http://bit.ly/g14ZDJ)
Rove: From Post-Partisan to Most Partisan – WSJ.com bit.ly In The Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove says that President Obama has energized his opponents by demonizing them. Share