DECATUR— It’s the largest procurement in Illinois history. And all that the legislature and I asked for was a little transparency. Governor Rauner decided to shrink the number of Managed Care Organizations serving Illinois Medicaid patients, from 12 to six. Or seven. It’s not clear.
Governor Rauner has kept the whole process behind closed doors by going around standard procurement rules intended to protect taxpayers from bad deals. This is not a partisan critique of the governor. The Governor’s Democratic predecessor, Governor Pat Quinn made the same mistake and rather than learning from it, Governor Rauner is repeating it on a larger scale. It was wrong when the Democratic governor did it and it’s wrong today.
That’s why I asked for and testified at legislative hearings on the issue this past Spring. As I said then, “There shouldn’t be more oversight and transparency on how the state purchases paperclips than on how it purchases healthcare for millions of Illinoisans.”
Illinois waits to see what President Trump’s attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act will do to our health system. This change the Governor orchestrated in the state’s healthcare system with no legislative oversight will affect 3.1 million Medicaid recipients in Illinois – a quarter of the state’s population. The price tag could be $35-to-$40 billion over the next four years – the largest procurement in state history.
The Senate plans a vote to override the Governor’s veto of SB1446, which would require the Governor to handle this procurement like any other state procurement -- in the sunlight, scrutinized by the state’s chief procurement officer. I encourage legislators to proceed with the override to bring greater transparency to the largest procurement in the state’s history and preserve the best medical options for all Illinoisans.
- Susana A. Mendoza,
Comptroller of Illinois