April 6, 2016
Two important updates to share this month on the State Policy front. One is related to the State Budget Impasse and the other relates to EverThrive Illinois' spring legislative priority measures. Lets start with the State Budget Impasse update.
As you know, Illinois is now in month 10 without a Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) state budget. There was a development two weeks ago that might have a direct impact on the state budget impasse and ultimately help break the impasse. Late last month the Illinois Supreme Court ruled, in a case filed by AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) seeking back pay owed to its members, that payments owed under a collective bargaining agreement still require an appropriation before they can be paid. The Supreme Court’s ruling in the back pay case directly conflicts with the trial court ruling in St. Clair County in the summer of 2015 that state employees must continue to be paid during a budget impasse, despite the absence of an appropriation, because they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
It is now highly anticipated that Attorney General Lisa Madigan will move to have the order of the St. Clair County vacated based on the Supreme Court’s decision. If this happens, there will then be no legal basis for Comptroller Munger to continue to pay AFSCME’s 40,000 state workers until the FY16 budget impasse is resolved and there are funds appropriated for that purpose (although some state workers may be entitled to receive minimum wage).
Therefore, if the legal process unfolds as described above, unless the General Assembly passes legislation appropriating funding to pay state workers and the Governor signs the legislation, we will be on the precipice of a massive shutdown of state services. This potential massive shutdown of state services might be enough to finally bring Governor Rauner and legislative leaders to the negotiating table in order to end the state budget impasse. We will continue to provide updates as this new development related to the State Budget Impasse unfolds, stay tuned!
It is also worth noting that, last month, the IL House and Senate each passed budget bills (SB2059 & HB2990) that appropriated most of the remaining human services, public health, and higher education programs. But, Governor Rauner has vowed to veto both bills since they don't have the accompanying needed revenue to fully fund either bill's appropriations. The remaining funding needed for school health centers was included in both bills.
EverThrive Illinois will continue to advocate with Governor Rauner and the IL general Assembly to end the Impasse and pass a fully-funded and responsible FY16 state budget.
Alicia Siani, EverThrive IL Policy Analyst testifying at the Committee Hearing for HB6213
The second update this month relates to EverThrive Illinois' Spring Legislative Priority Measures. First, HB6213, the Empowering Meaningful Patient Choice in Medicaid Managed Care Act, passed out of the House Human Services Committee Tuesday morning with bipartisan support! EverThrive IL's Policy Analyst, Alicia Siani, testified in committee in support of the bill! We also partnered with Champaign County Health Care Consumers (CCHCC) to ensure committee members heard from a consumer assister, Adani Sanchez, who on a daily basis, encounters the issues HB6213 addresses.
There will be an amendment to HB6213 that comes back to committee soon where we'll need your organizational support through electronic proponent slips again please! The amendment is meant to address concerns raised by HFS and the Illinois Association of Medicaid Health Plans (IAMHP). Stay tuned!
Second, SB2393 Amendment 1, a bill that requires low-income schools to serve Breakfast After The Bell to students passed out of the Senate Education Committee with bipartisan support!
Third, the "Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) in Medicaid Managed Care" clean-up trailer bill passed out of the Senate Human Services Committee earlier this week with bipartisan support. There is no known opposition to this bill and we expect it to continue to move through the legislative process this session. SB2331 Amendment 1 addresses a concern Medical Home Network had with the "EOBs in Medicaid Managed Care" law that we helped pass last session. The amendment clarifies that communication between "Business Associates" and Medicaid Managed Care Entities (MCEs) regarding the patients they care for is still permissible under the "EOBs in Medicaid Managed Care" law.
SB2331 SA1 still preserves the initial intent of the "EOBs in Medicaid Managed Care" law, which is the suppression of EOBs and other communication regarding sensitive services in the IL Medicaid Program.