Manar hearing 350SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) released the following statement on efforts to establish a fair tax system for the people of Illinois:

“For more than a generation Illinois has lurched from one fiscal crisis to the next, in large part due to an outdated tax system that is unfair to the middle class. I applaud Gov. Pritzker for starting this long overdue discussion on how to stabilize our state’s budget. I look forward to working with him to ease the tax burden on 97 percent of working Illinoisans.”

Category: Latest News

Ballot Box 350SPRINGFIELD – Two state senators are embarking on a bipartisan effort to level the playing field for new political parties and independent candidates in Illinois.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) have introduced a plan that lowers the number of signatures required for new political parties and independent candidates to be on the ballot. They would need the same number of signatures that is required for established political parties to be on the ballot under the proposal.

“It’s commonsense that all candidates and political parties should have to clear the same hurdles to secure a spot on the ballot,” Manar said. “I have never thought it was fair that some candidates in Illinois have to collect more signatures than others to run for office.”

For example, in 2018, candidates with established political parties were required to collect between 5,000 and 10,000 signatures to run for statewide office, but independent candidates and those with new parties had to collect 25,000.

Senate Bill 141 is a matter of fairness, Barickman said.

“Competitive elections make for a stronger democracy, and I think reducing some of the hurdles for candidates to participate is a good step in that direction,” Barickman said. “I believe this is an idea that should receive bipartisan support and I’m optimistic that we will be able to advance this legislation.”

Category: Latest News

Co-sponsors measure to reform Illinois’ managed care program

03052019 MCO news conference 650

SPRINGFIELD – Fed up with delayed and denied state payments that compromise quality health care in rural areas of Illinois, State Senator Andy Manar joined rural and safety net hospitals to call for landmark reform of managed care companies under Illinois’ Medicaid program.

Manar is co-sponsoring Senate Bill 1807, also known as the Safety Net Hospital MCO Reform Act. The measure aims to correct repeated abuses by managed care organizations – or MCOs – that oversee hundreds of millions of dollars of care each year provided by hospitals that treat Medicaid low-income patients.

“The long payment delays are costing downstate hospitals millions of dollars when they’re already struggling to survive day to day,” Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said during a news conference at the Capitol. He was joined by Ken Reid, CEO of Carlinville Area Hospital.

Carlinville Area Hospital is one of six critical access hospitals in the 48th Senate District that Manar represents. All of these rural hospitals, which are vital health care centers and economic engines in rural communities of central Illinois, are being adversely affected by the state’s MCO program. More than 43 percent of Illinois’ critical access hospitals are operating in the red, or are close to doing so.

Rather than provide needed clinical care to patients, critical access hospitals find they are being forced spend more time jumping through bureaucratic hoops so they can be reimbursed for services they already provided, Reid said.

“Critical access hospitals simply do not have the capacity or the ability to take on huge insurance companies and MCOs. The unfair claim denials and payment delays must stop now,” he said.

Advocates and lawmakers said rural and safety net hospitals with high percentages of Medicaid patients have encountered major problems under the state’s MCO program. MCOs delay and deny payments for care already given, change provider coverage without proper notice, delay patient release from hospitals without reimbursement and refuse to let hospitals fix paperwork errors on claims.

SB1807, which is sponsored by State Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), would require MCOs to:

  • Treat hospitals as expedited providers who regularly need quicker payments, similar to the state’s fee-for-service system
  • Discharge patients more quickly upon a doctor’s release, or pay for keeping the patient hospitalized
  • Update health care provider rosters weekly and to reimburse providers who have contracts with MCO for medically necessary services regardless if the provider is on the updated MCO roster
  • Provide reasonable time to fix errors on non-electronic health care claims

“This is about the fundamental right people have around our state to get the health care they need, at a price we all can afford,” Manar said. “Our constituents deserve to know their hospital will be there to serve them. This bill takes an important step forward in providing that assurance.”

Pictured (left to right): State Rep. Camille Lilly (D-Chicago); Ken Reid, CEO, Carlinville Area Hospital; State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood); and State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

Category: Latest News

03042019 Manar SIUE hearing 2

The Illinois Metro East has a tremendous need for infrastructure and construction investment by the state of Illinois, lawmakers learned Monday during a special Senate hearing in Edwardsville.

Local mayors, transportation experts and others presented a laundry list of improvement and construction projects they would like included in a new statewide infrastructure plan. Needs range from local highway and bridge repairs to improvements at Southern Illinois University and area community colleges.

The needs were articulated during the first in a series of regional hearings around the state hosted by a Senate subcommittee that is collecting data and testimony for lawmakers to consider when they put together Illinois’ next statewide construction plan. It’s been 10 years since the last plan was approved.

State Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat, is chairman of one of the two Senate budget committees that will be heavily involved in crafting a construction plan. He is overseeing the regional infrastructure hearings with State Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

03042019 Manar SIUE hearing 3

Officials from Southern Illinois University, which has campuses in Carbondale, Edwardsville and Springfield, implored lawmakers to set aside money for deferred maintenance and construction projects, noting that “cranes on campus” sends a valuable message to communities.

Area mayors outlined road and highway improvement projects that are necessary to attract major employers that want to build or expand in the region.

And representatives of labor unions from the Metro East, southern and central Illinois described challenges they have recruiting new people and diversifying their ranks when there isn’t enough work in the state.

In 2018, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Illinois a C- grade, saying the state’s transportation infrastructure shows signs of deterioration and increasing vulnerability.

Among those who testified Monday were Randy Pembrook, chancellor of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; Dale Chapman, president of Lewis and Clark Community College; Glyn Ramage with the laborers’ union; Totsie Baily with the steamfitters’ union; Marc Kiehna, Southwest Illinois Connector Task Force chairman; Joe Silkwood, mayor of East Alton; and many others.

Senators will host at least four more hearings on the following dates:

  • 1 p.m. Monday, March 18 – Decatur Public Library, 130 N. Franklin St., Decatur
  • 3 p.m. Monday, April 8 – Bradley University, Peplow Pavilion inside the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center, 1501 W. Bradley Ave., Peoria
  • 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 16 – Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle St., Chicago
  • 1 p.m. Monday, April 22 – Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Ave., Elgin
Category: Latest News

School Funding Reform

 

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Springfield Office:
119A Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-0228

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