Breeze-Courier | Taylorville, IL
weather sponsored by
Hickory Estates of Taylorville




Advanced Search
search sponsored by


LOGIN | SUBSCRIBE




KMRM

home : news : state news free December 12, 2017

   
11/30/2017 10:21:00 AM
Illinois lawmakers seek more info on Medicaid contract

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration says a $60 billion package to provide health care to millions of low-income Illinois residents will save $1 billion over current expenses, while critics deride it as a “stealth deal” that they say is costing more than they expected.

The administration agreed to a four-year, roughly $15 billion annual contract with seven managed care organizations that will handle Medicaid coverage for 2.7 million Illinois residents beginning Jan. 1.

Rauner’s administration predicts savings of up to $300 million a year, largely because insurers have agreed to accept lower payments from the state.  But lawmakers of both parties have complained about the procurement process that led to the deal.

Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago, the House Democrats’ budget expert, will conduct a hearing Thursday in Chicago to get answers about the deal and a side contract that the Department of Healthcare and Family Services signed with a consultant to shepherd the pact.

The annual contract with the managed care organizations will cost the state 43 percent more than the $10.5 billion Illinois currently pays for Medicaid. But John Hoffman, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, points out that the program will cover 800,000 more people.

“This transformation will offer quality care to vulnerable residents while ensuring sustainable costs for taxpayers,” Hoffman said.

The plan will shift administration of health care from the state to private insurers. The administration contends that will lower medical costs because private insurers focus more on prevention. The state’s program, called HealthChoice Illinois , will cover nearly 90 percent of the state’s 3.1 million residents eligible for Medicaid.

Putting more Medicaid clients in managed-care coverage was the aim of a 2011 state law.

While lawmakers have complained that the contract wasn’t done through the standard bidding process, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services insists the process was “competitive and transparent” and that the agency utilized the “purchase of care” procedure that’s been used for decades for such contracts. Although bids were not required, the agency solicited them from contractors seeking the work, Hoffman said.

Critics, including Democratic Comptroller Susana Mendoza, say they hadn’t expected the contract to cost as much as it did. She said in a statement that Rauner should have followed “an open and transparent review. He refused and we are now saddled with a massive stealth deal with an outrageous price tag.”

Hoffman said Healthcare and Family Services Director Felicia Norwood had never provided a cost estimate.

Last spring, House Democrats used the impending deal as leverage in their budget negotiations with Rauner. In exchange for business-practice changes the GOP governor had long demanded, Democrats insisted on a traditional procurement process for the managed-care agreement. Negotiations went by the wayside, however, when Democrats who control the General Assembly adopted an income-tax increase and an annual budget over Rauner’s vetoes.

Conservative Rep. David McSweeney is interested in the answers too.

“I want a full explanation of why the MCO (managed care organization) contracts were not competitively bid using the procurement code,” the Barrington Hills Republican said. “I also want a detailed explanation of why the administration recently creased the MCO cost estimate.”

———

Contact Political Writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/john%20o’connor

———

Sign up for the AP’s weekly newsletter showcasing our best reporting from the Midwest and Texas: http://apne.ws/2u1RMfv

———

This story has been corrected to reflect that McSweeney is interested in hearing but won’t attend.





Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

If you are looking for the SPEAK OUT submission form, you can find it by clicking here: Speak Out Form


Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

NOTE: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address will not be displayed or shared.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   











Dr Paul The Dentist
Trinity Dodge Fixed

NewsWebPagesOpinionPeopleObituariesAg & BusinessSportsContact Us
Subscriptions | Username & Password Reminder | Change Password | Life

Breeze-Courier & Printing | 212 S Main St. Taylorville, IL 62568 | (217) 824-2233 |
website@breezecourier.com

© Copyright 2014 Breeze-Courier & Printing. All Rights Reserved.
Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Breeze-Courier & Printing.

Software © 1998-2017 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved