Suffredin- Changing County Government  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.


Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.

Fill-in-the-blanks reform

Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Chicago Tribune

Cook County runs the largest publicly owned medical network in the nation. Nothing will be more affected by Gov. Rod Blagojevich's push to overhaul the state's rickety and expensive Medicaid system than the county's hospitals and clinics and the hundreds of thousands of patients who rely on them.

Blagojevich formally pitched his program to the Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday. He wants lawmakers to adopt it next week and have it up and running by July 1. But according to a spokesman for Dr. Daniel Winship, who runs the county facilities, no substantive discussions have yet been held with the governor's administration about how this new plan would work.

That's because there's not much of a plan to discuss. Blagojevich wants lightning-fast action on little more than a concept, with details on complex questions of how patients will get treatment and how it will be paid for to be filled in later.

The governor spoke to lawmakers for 24 minutes but spent just 97 seconds talking about the managed care disciplines he wants to impose on Medicaid to wring out savings. His focus was on spending those savings on a new program called All Kids that would underwrite medical coverage for thousands of uninsured children.

In advertising, that's called selling the sizzle and not the steak. All Kids is an intriguing idea that addresses a chronic and emotionally charged problem. But it's only a small part of what Blagojevich is proposing to do.

Medicaid is a vexing problem in every state, where the soaring costs of medical care for the poor are devouring budgets. The $8 billion Illinois program, which covers 1.7 million low-income residents, consumes one-third of the state's entire operating fund.

States are experimenting with all manner of cost-cutting initiatives to rein in Medicaid. Some are cutting benefits, others making it tougher to qualify and virtually all--except, up to now, Illinois--have turned to forms of managed care. Nothing has produced a sure-fire formula for success, and many efforts have flopped. A new Florida reform that would pay privately run health maintenance organizations to care for more than 2 million recipients received a serious blow Monday when the state's largest insurer declined to participate.

Illinois is one of few states trying to grow its program. That can have far-reaching consequences. The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured says Medicaid cost pressures intensified in the last economic downturn as poverty grew. By intentionally making its program bigger, Illinois could court financial disaster when the inevitable next recession arrives.

The Blagojevich reform model is one professionals nickname "managed care lite." It would steer patients to gatekeeper physicians to coordinate care but contain few of the HMO-style financial carrots and sticks to make doctors and patients adhere to the rules. That could limit its impact as a cost-containment tool.

Whatever the shortcomings of his proposal, Blagojevich deserves credit for launching a long-overdue discussion about reining in Medicaid and helping children. His proposal could be the starting point for a goals-driven deliberation: Illinois does need to reinvent an important safety net to make it patient-friendly and cost-effective.

The state, and the governor's legacy, would be better served if he was more intent on doing it right than on doing it fast.

Recent Headlines

U.S. appeals judges: Go fight over lawsuits with Dorothy Brown in state court
Sunday, November 13, 2918
Chicago Sun-Times

She's been waiting 15 months for her rape kit to be processed. A new proposal to track evidence aims to change that.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Preckwinkle to unveil policy roadmap for Cook County for next five years
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

COMMENTARY: Here's how the Shakman case curbed Cook County patronage
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Appeals court backs Dorothy Brown in lawsuit over public access to electronic records, says judge overstepped authority
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune

What’s Next As Voters Overwhelmingly Support Higher Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Time
Monday, November 12, 2018
Journal and Topics Online

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's security chief fired after review spurred by watchdog report
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

An earlier opening day: 2019 Cook County forest preserves permits go on sale Nov. 15
Thursday, November 08, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County opening 2019 picnic permit sales Nov. 15
Monday, November 05, 2018
Special to

The Cook County Land Bank looks to go commercial
Monday, November 05, 2018
RE Journal

Nov. 15 is new opening date for Cook County forest preserves permits
Monday, November 05, 2018
Daily Herald

Cook County Gun Dealer, Minimum Wage Referendums On Ballot
Monday, November 05, 2018

The Abandoned WWI Monument One Chicago Man Is Determined To Save
Friday, November 02, 2018
Chicago Patch

Cook County freed from federal oversight
Thursday, November 01, 2018
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

First-of-its-kind trauma recovery center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018

Northbrook opts in to Cook County paid sick leave ordinance, more uncertainty for employers, lawyer says
Monday, October 29, 2018
Cook County Record

First-of-its-kind Advocate Trauma Recovery Center serves survivors of domestic violence, hate crimes, sexual assault, gun violence in Cook County
Monday, October 29, 2018
WLS Channel 7

Cook County sheriff, CVS team up on safe prescription painkiller disposal
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

HOPE Court, created to keep probationers out of prison, shut down amid problems
Friday, October 26, 2018
Chicago Sun-Times

Can Kaegi really reform the assessor's office?
Friday, October 26, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.