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What’s Going on in Springfield?
Posted on: 3/2/2017
As we go to press, the latest news is that the remaining bills in the grand bargain are on hold – at least for now. The future of this legislation is unknown.

It's been a busy week in Springfield for both the legislative and administrative branches of our state government.

On the administrative side, Governor Rauner and Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Felicia Norwood announced a restructuring of the Medicaid managed care organization (MCO) program. The governor announced his plan to rebid MCO insurer contracts, with the goal of improving health care delivery to Medicaid recipients in Illinois. 

Under the restructuring, the number of MCOs will be reduced with the expectation that the plans will be available statewide. Currently, the number of MCO options varies by county. The state also plans to increase the percentage of Medicaid patients enrolled in MCOs. Currently two-thirds of Medicaid patients are enrolled in managed care; under the revamping that percentage will increase to 80 percent.

"We look forward to more details about how this proposal can improve patients' lives in a way that leverages competition, increases choice and provides overall program stability," said ISMS President Thomas M. Anderson, MD, in a statement reacting to the announcement. "It is also important that the program be simplified to reduce administrative burdens for physicians."

See Fine-Tuning Still Needed for Medicaid Managed Care in this edition of Physician Advocate.

On the legislative side, the Senate was the only chamber of the General Assembly in session this week. As expected, the Senate started voting on its "grand bargain" bills, and thus far, passed the following portions of the comprehensive legislative package:

  • Senate Bill 3: Local Government Consolidation
  • Senate Bill 7: Gaming Expansion
  • Senate Bill 8: Government Procurement Reform
  • Senate Bill 5: Chicago Public Schools Pension Parity
  • Senate Bill 6: Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations  

The 12 separate bills are all written to be linked together, so the package is an "all or nothing" effort to get past the budget impasse.

The Senate also voted on Senate Bill 16, which is the comprehensive pension reform bill; however, that legislation failed on its initial vote and will likely be considered by the Senate in the near future.

An amendment to Senate Bill 12, the workers' compensation bill, was filed Tuesday morning. This bill implements draconian cuts to the medical fee schedule, using Medicare rates to identify fees to be cut and set the extent of those reductions. ISMS has argued that using Medicare as a means to evaluate workers' compensation reimbursement is a false comparison, as Medicare never adequately reimbursed physicians for their care of the elderly population. ISMS is aggressively opposing Senate Bill 12 as currently written.

ISMS has been actively monitoring these and other developments. Recently our Legislative Action Hub was updated to include information on our 2017 legislative priorities. Check the Hub for regular updates.



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