The Arc of Illinois Weekly Update

Here are some of the highlights and calls to action for this week.  For the latest news, please like us on Facebook as well. 



Illinois Special Session

As you know, Illinois is more than 700 days without a budget.  Moodys and others have moved Illinois and some of our key institutions to junk bond status because of the debt and lack of budget.  This week Governor Rauner called a special session of the Legislature for June 21 to June 30.

There does seem to be a building of pressure to get a budget agreement with the federal courts finding that Illinois needs to start paying down its $2 billion backlog of Medicaid provider payments and have a compromise plan for this by June 20 and no K through 12 education funding bill passed for the new fiscal year starting in July.

The Republican House Leadership on Wednesday released a blueprint of a budget cap on spending.  We have not yet seen a spending plan.  An analysis of the new Republican budget/reform plan can be read by clicking here.

What You Can Do:

  • Continue to talk with your state legislators (click here to find them) to demand a responsible budget now!
    • Tell them to protect people with disabilities in the process by
      • supporting a wage increase for direct support workers AND
      • fully fund the DD grants including TAP, Life Span and Best Buddies.

Below is a statement that the They Deserve More Campaign released yesterday in response to the Republican outline:
“Agencies that support people with disabilities are deeply disappointed with the Republican state budget blueprint. By offering only a 50-cents-an-hour increase for disability caregivers (DSPs) who are paid poverty wages and haven’t had a raise in almost a decade, the Republican proposal—like the Democratic Senate Bill 6—falls far short of what disability service providers urgently need and the people they care for deserve.

The Republican plan also fails to mention any new revenue measures needed to support its proposed spending. The FY 18 budget must include adequate revenue increases to reverse the state’s neglect of social services and meet its obligations.

For people with disabilities and their families who rely on community agencies, the lack of a budget is no longer a problem, it’s a catastrophe. Community homes are closing, hundreds of caregiver positions are going unfilled, and nearly 20,000 children and adults with disabilities are stuck on a waiting list with no services.

We urge state legislators and the governor to come together on a plan that provides a living wage for those who care for children and adults with disabilities.”



Illinois Medicaid Managed Care – Delay in Announcing Awardees

Crain’s Chicago Business reported on June 13, 2017, that Illinois is delaying the award of an estimated $9 billion in Medicaid managed care contracts to further evaluate bids from nine competing health plans. The awards, originally scheduled to be announced around June 30, will be delayed several weeks. Bidders include Aetna Better Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, County Care Health Plan, Harmony Health Plan (WellCare), IlliniCare Health Plan (Centene), Meridian Health, Molina Healthcare of Illinois Inc., NextLevel Health, and Trusted Health Plan. Read More



Senate Secrecy Problem on Healthcare – Medicaid Action Needed

We sent an action alert out earlier this week, but we wanted to make sure everyone saw the update and the asks around action.

The Senate GOP has been privately negotiating their version of the American Health Care Act with a goal to bring it to the floor by June 30 for a vote without a hearing.  We need action today to reinforce the point of “No Cuts or Caps to Medicaid” and to demand a public hearing of the proposed legislation before it is voted on.  We are hearing that the bill has cuts and caps to Medicaid as well as other policies that will hurt people with disabilities such as lifetime caps to insurance.  WE MUST FIGHT THIS EFFORT TO RAM A BILL THROUGH THE SENATE WITHOUT PUBLIC INPUT!

What YOU can do today:

  • Call your Senators.  For Illinois, call Senator Durbin at (202) 224-2152 and Senator Duckworth at (202) 224-2854.  If you do not know your legislators, you can find your House member here and your Senators here.
  • Call the Senate HELP Committee and Senate Finance Committee to demand both committees hold hearings on the Senate version of the American Health Care Act.  Senate HELP Committee – 202-224-5375, Senate Finance Committee – 202-224-4515.
  • Call Governor Rauner to ask that he speak up against cutting and capping Medicaid.  Call him at (312) 814-2121.
  • Use Social Media to share information and engage your friends and families using #SaveMedicaid

Illinois will be among those hit the hardest by the Medicaid cuts. Because of our state’s historically low spending on Medicaid enrollees, putting a cap on our federal funding is an especially bad deal for Illinois. If the Medicaid per capita cap went into effect, Illinois would have to find savings in our program to make up for the loss of funding.




NHeLP Blog Launches “Protect Our Care” Series

With Senate leaders striving to rush a bill through the chamber that would repeal the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA) and slash Medicaid funding, we need resources to fight back. NHeLP’s “Health Advocate Blog,” has launched a series of posts on how rolling back progressive reforms, including the expansion of Medicaid will take us back to an era of high uninsured rates and rising health care costs for everyone else.

The initial posts in this series are:


Important Dates!

  • June 22 – Know Your Options Event, South Chicago
  • September 14 – Healthcare Conference
  • October 3 – Living with Autism Conference, Lisle
  • October 30-November 1 – Speak Up Speak Out, Springfield