health care

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, KFF State Health

 Following today's ruling  from the U.S. Supreme Court, Illinois residents who bought health insurance under the affordable care act will get to keep tax credits that cut the cost of their plans. 


flickr/meeshpants

ILLINOIS ISSUES - Idatyna Zarecky was sexually abused as a child, which she believes led to her developing mental health problems. Her mother didn’t have the time or resources to have her treated and would give her medication to calm her nerves.

LinkedIn

A recently released audit of the Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services showed repeated problems from the previous administration. The newly appointed secretary of the agency spoke before a panel of state lawmakers on Tuesday about the audit.

Felicia Norwood wasn't the secretary of HFS when recording mistakes were made that allowed dead people and duplicate enrollees to receive payments for medical assistance. She made that point clear during a legislative hearing designed to address the inaccuracies.

healthcaregov.net

The deadline is approaching to sign up for health care under the Affordable Care Act. In-person counselors help walk people through the process.

Loren Greer is a 63-year-old truck driver who was taken off his company's health coverage when he was forced into early retirement. He sought help from an in-person counselor so he can avoid paying a fee after the February 15 deadline. If it weren't for the threat of a 325 dollar fee, Greer might not enroll.

Jamey Dunn
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

It’s no secret that many Illinois Democrats have been reluctant to throw their full support behind President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. And Republicans at the state level are not going to get behind a law that their party counterparts in the U.S. House have voted dozens of times to repeal. As a result, those seeking insurance in the state have been handed a mixed bag of policy.

 

acphospitalist.org

A new annual licensing fee for hospitals that's taking effect in Illinois will finally fund a system for reporting medical errors that was established by state law back in 2005.

 Crain's Chicago Business reports the new fee will raise about $1.7 million annually. The fee was part of legislation signed by Gov. Pat Quinn last week.  

The fee of $55 per hospital bed will fund a system for hospitals to report mistakes such as performing surgery on the wrong body part. The idea is to improve patient safety by analyzing how errors occur.  

Illinois Health Campaign Among Nation's Costliest

Jun 12, 2014
healthcaregov.net

The campaign to promote President Barack Obama's health care law in his home state of Illinois has been one of the nation's costliest with a $33
million contract for work by high-priced public relations experts.
 
An Associated Press review of hundreds of documents finds more than 90 people billed at least $270 an hour under a contract with few built-in restraints.
 

Brandeis.edu

Ted Marmor has studied the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.  The author and Professor Emeritus at Yale sees both good and bad with the new law.

"My overall view is simple. That it's a very confusing piece of legislation, not very well explained," he said.

"It perpetuates the cost and complexity of American medical care. But it makes some improvement in the availability of health insurance and the protection of some Americans from being devastated by expensive hospital stays and expensive pharmaceutical treatment."

Here & Now recently spoke with U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois about a bill he sponsored called The Equitable Access to Care and Health Act (EACH).

prairieheart.com

St. John's new CEO says the Springfield hospital will face many challenges as a result of the Affordable Care Act ... like changes in Medicare reimbursement -- which now rewards keeping patients out of hospitals.

Dr. Charles Lucore's appointment was announced Thursday.

It has been roughly two weeks since the first batch of consumers who signed up for the Affordable Care Act have been able to use their insurance. There's another deadline this week.

Consumers who signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act by Christmas saw their new benefits kick in Jan. 1.

There's no telling how many Illinois residents that is: the government hasn't released enrollment numbers for December. But insurers and so-called navigators, who are charged with helping people sign up, reported a last-minute rush.

Auburn Ambulance Service

When it's a matter of life and death, you call for an ambulance.  But seconds can save lives.  Having an ambulance close by is a luxury for some communities, especially in smaller, rural areas.  There's a cost and often, the number of calls are too few to support it.

In Auburn, it's a similar story.  But the Auburn Area Ambulance Service won't give up.  The not for profit has found a way to get donations.  It's launched a subscription service.

Mammography In 3D

Oct 30, 2013
File photo

  Illinois requires insurance companies to cover routine mammograms, but that doesn't necessarily include a new method of detecting breast cancer.

A mammogram is a low-dose of x-rays doctors use to spot breast cancer. An important tool, to be sure, but one that can result in false-positives.

Dr. Sarah Friedewald says that'll happen a lot less if women also get a 3D mammogram. Likewise, she says, the new technology makes it easier to spot abnormalities.

Jamey Dunn
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Illinois should provide mental health care and addiction treatment to those who truly need it instead of incarcerating thousands of the addicted and the mentally ill, making taxpayers shell out for care in the much costlier settings of prison and jails. 

Jamey Dunn headshot
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

About this time two years ago, I was working on one of my first big assignments for this magazine after I had come aboard as Capitol bureau chief. The article was on the state’s backlog of unpaid bills. At the time, the total of overdue payments to schools, universities and the state’s vendors was $3.5 billion. The oldest bills had sat unpaid for six months. 

President Barack Obama embraces Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after signing the health insurance reform bill in the White House.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

For Tim Fraas, a heart-transplant patient from Elgin, the prospect of reaching the $2 million cap on lifetime benefits for his health-insurance coverage wasn’t a mere possibility over the next few years. “It was going to happen for sure,” he says. “I was beyond worrying about it.”

WUIS/Illinois Issues

While Illinois’ highest court could try to avoid making policy, one case on its docket this fall has potential to start a domino effect that would have policy implications at all levels of government.

Specifically, state and federal lawmakers would have to reconsider the tax liabilities of nonprofit hospitals, as well as the payment for public health care programs that they often bill.

Heightening the importance of the court’s decision, the case is six years old.

Bethany Jaeger
WUIS/Illinois Issues

 

  To his credit, the governor also is a big thinker with a team of creative policy advisers.

But charm and ingenuity don't bode well with Illinois legislators cast aside as obstructionists. There's no better example than Blagojevich's marquee effort to expand state-sponsored health care, first to all children and now to adults.

 

 

Gov. Rod Blagojevich launched his second term by declaring the state has a "moral obligation" to ensure Illinoisans have access to affordable and comprehensive health care.

When fewer people have health insurance, everyone pays more. 

Nationwide, the added expense of treating everything from sore throats to heart disease in the emergency room is significant — about $41 billion in 2004 — according to a January report by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.