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Saturday, March 6, 2010

State Budget Cuts and How They Lead to Managed Care: Update from Illinois

An update on the managed care struggle in Illinois, from advocate Tyler McHaley:

Kill Bill, Vol. III

An interesting thing happened on the way to the Medicaid Reform Committee hearing yesterday. I was prepared to testify on behalf of HB 5113, a bill sponsored by Representative Mary Flowers, which would prohibit any state agency, including HFS, DHS, and the Department of Aging from using managed care providers or HMOs to pay for medical care for people receiving Social Security or benefits under other federal waivers. That may sound complicated, but it really is intended to kill the entire managed care pilot project proposed recently by HFS.

It was only after I realized I was at the wrong hearing room that I ran into Representative Chapa LaVIa. It was a fortuitous meeting, as she then told me the current state of her bill, HB 5086, which was heard in the Medicaid Reform Committee last week. Though it passed with only the requirement of some amendments being attached, she informed me the bill was going nowhere. She said the people in the Governor's Office had told her they were not going to work with her legislation. She felt her bill was likely dead even with passage from the committee. Therefore, she told me that she and, presumably, her cosponsors were rallying behind Representative Flowers' bill. Moreover, she wanted disability rights advocates to stand behind that bill as well. Her reasoning was simple inasmuch as she thought that if her idea for a task force to oversee the pilot project was a nonstarter, it was best to ensure the pilot project never had a chance to take root.

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