Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

Accountability
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
Editorial

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

Cook County Circuit Court resuming limited in-person operations Monday
Monday, July 06, 2020

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Monday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Monday, July 06, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Lightfoot, senior advocates strike deal on Covid-19 housing protection ordinance
Monday, July 06, 2020
The Daily Line

New flood maps tell us we aren’t doing enough to stop rising waters
Sunday, July 05, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County courts start reopening Monday, with thousands of cases stalled by pandemic. ‘How do you wake the sleeping giant?’
Saturday, July 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Board considers nonbinding proposal to shift money from ‘failed and racist’ policing, incarceration systems
Saturday, July 04, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Coronavirus pandemic should spur family talk about financial planning, too
Saturday, July 04, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

COVID-19 Cases Are On The Rise In Some Parts Of Illinois. This Worries Experts.
Friday, July 03, 2020
WBEZ News

Cannabis, gambling taxes to boost county amid long-term budget woes
Thursday, July 02, 2020
The Daily Line

Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening Thursday with COVID-19 in the Chicago area
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Chicago Tribune

'Going To Do The Best We Can': Cook County Adjusts Outreach Strategy For US Census Due To COVID-19
Thursday, July 02, 2020
WBBM Radio

Why local school districts are lining up against Fritz Kaegi
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

How COVID-19 threatens health care in Cook County
Thursday, July 02, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County’s new website shows nearly half of census funds spent on advertising, marketing
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Forest Preserves of Cook County opens more in Phase 4
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Daily Herald

Dart, other county sheriffs demand state prisons start accepting inmates again
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

A COVID-19 surge in your county? New Illinois website offers ways to check.
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Chicago, Cook County, Illinois raise minimum wage Wednesday
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
The Daily Line

Illinois ends June with about half the daily COVID-19 deaths and new cases as in peak month of May
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Kim Foxx confirms office will err on side of dismissing cases related to protests, curfew
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

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