SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza supports Senate Bill 1446, which would bring transparency and oversight to the state’s Medicaid system.
Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration is in the process of restructuring Medicaid and shifting nearly half a million patients into the crowded managed care organization (MCO) system. At the same time, the state plans to cut the number of MCOs it works with by as much as two thirds. This change will affect 3.1 million Medicaid recipients as well as every doctor and health care provider in Illinois.
The governor’s plan comes with a huge financial commitment. With an estimated cost ranging anywhere from $35 billion to $40 billion, over four years, it is the largest procurement in state history. This commitment would come after the state has gone more than two years without a budget and already owes MCOs more than $2 billion in unpaid bills.
Despite the cost and the potential impact on patients and the state’s health care infrastructure, the Rauner administration is executing this massive change outside of the oversight of the standard procurement process under an exception known as “Purchase of Care.” Because there is no state budget, the administration is also avoiding the budgetary oversight that would normally be provided by the General Assembly.
“There shouldn’t be more oversight and transparency on how the State purchases paperclips than on how it purchases healthcare for millions of Illinoisans. I am disappointed that Governor Rauner did not learn from the mistakes of the Quinn Administration when it labeled similar procurements “Purchase of Care,” Comptroller Mendoza said. “Patients and taxpayers deserve proper oversight on such a costly and dramatic change to the state’s Medicaid system.”
SB 1446 would bring independent oversight to this process and all contracts with MCOs by requiring that they go through the procurement process. That would mean that the state’s chief procurement officer would review these deals and restrictions on campaign donations by bidders to the administration would apply. After being passed 65-46 by the House Monday, the bill now heads to the State Senate.
You can view the PDF version of this release here.