Rauner’s proposed changes will have dramatic impact on Illinoisans’ access to healthcare

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislators are demanding to know whether Gov. Bruce Rauner’s sweeping changes to the Medicaid system will allow recipients to keep their current doctors and hospitals, what access and quality will be lost by the proposed changes and what steps the administration has taken to prevent conflicts of interest during its unilateral push to overhaul the system that currently provides care to millions of Illinois families.

Rauner and his Department of Healthcare and Family Services have pushed to reduce consumer choice and limit options by reducing the number of managed care organizations authorized to provide coverage under the Medicaid system. In a letter to the governor released Monday, state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, who chairs the House Appropriations-Human Services Committee, is calling on Rauner to address questions about how the proposed changes would affect patient care, how the contracts will be reviewed and awarded, and what steps the administration has taken to ensure employees involved in the selection process do not steer contracts to managed care organizations they previously worked for or may work for in the future.

“As Medicaid’s fate at the federal level is still very much in question, the subject of health care is one of great anxiety for countless Illinois families,” Harris said. “The governor has pursued these changes without the consent of the Legislature, but the members of the Appropriations-Human Services Committee have an obligation to the people of our state to ensure this process is deliberate, thorough, ethical and ultimately in the best interest of Medicaid recipients.”

Harris is asking Rauner to inform committee members what steps have been taken to ensure continuity of care, including whether patients will retain access to primary-care physicians and specialists as the state plans to contract with fewer managed care organizations. Before the administration awards one of the largest contracts in state history, Harris is also requesting the governor outline who within his administration was involved in the RFP process, who will review the proposals, who will be subject to “revolving door” employment prohibitions and whether any employees have recused themselves from the process. A number of Rauner administration officials have previously been employed by managed care organizations.

“President Trump and Republicans in Washington will continue trying to fundamentally alter the health care landscape, and Medicaid in particular,” Harris said. “Their proposals sounded alarm bells for countless families in our state who would be denied care, and I hope sent a message to the governor that decisions regarding people’s health cannot be made in the back room.”

Rep Gregory HarrisRep Greg Harris

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