05152018 Dyer Sullivan 350SPRINGFIELD – Two area pharmacy owners, Michelle Dyer and Owen Sullivan, are working with State Senator Andy Manar and lawmakers to expose how Illinois’ independent drug stores are being forced out of business because of state policies and unfair competition.

Dyer and Sullivan appeared before the Illinois Senate’s Human Services Committee last week to explain the effects of the state’s Medicaid managed care reboot on their small businesses, which serve largely rural areas of Illinois.

The financial crisis local pharmacies are facing has intensified since April 1, when the Rauner administration expanded the Medicaid managed care program to every county in Illinois. Adding to the pressure are rate cuts administered by pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs.

The result is that local pharmacies have seen drastic cuts in what they are reimbursed for filling Medicaid prescriptions. In many cases they are losing money on the prescriptions they fill.

Dyer, who owns three Michelle’s Pharmacy locations in Macoupin County, employs 15 full-time workers with benefits and provides high-quality health care for rural patients. She’s a first-generation pharmacy owner and has been in business 10 years.

But, she told the Senate committee, because of the state’s managed care changes, the drastic cuts implemented by PBMs and the lack of parity with CVS/Caremark, she and other independent pharmacy owners are being pushed out of business.

“We’re just asking to be appropriately reimbursed for our services and the medication we provide,” she said.

Owen Sullivan, a third-generation pharmacist and the owner of Sullivan’s Drugstore in Carlinville, faces similar struggles.

“What you’re allowing them to do is use state tax dollars to stamp out competition,” he told lawmakers.

Manar is sponsoring House Bill 3479 to address the problem and is engaged in negotiations with pharmacists, managed care organizations, PBMs and the state.

“I have two concerns. We have to have a network of pharmacies in the state to provide medical services. That is being threatened right now because of the implementation of managed care. That’s an indisputable fact,” he said.

“My second concern deals with transparency. Other states have taken steps to make sure the role of PBMs utilizing state tax dollars becomes more transparent. The language of this bill seeks to address both of those concerns.”

Category: Latest News

Bipartisan support for gradual update of Illinois’ minimum teacher salary after 38 years

05172018 Manar Interview 350SPRINGFIELD – An effort to update Illinois’ minimum mandated salary for teachers – one that could attract more young people to the profession by sending a message that their work is valued – was approved by the Illinois Senate Thursday.

Illinois has not updated its minimum mandated salary for teachers since 1980. For 38 years, state statute has required Illinois school districts to pay teachers a minimum salary of about $10,000. Based on decades of inflation, the minimum mandated salary should be about $32,000.

“Is a full-time teacher worth $32,000 a year? That’s the question this bill proposes, and I believe the answer is an emphatic yes,” said State Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and the sponsor of the proposal.

Under the measure, the state would update the minimum mandated salary for teachers annually for the next four years. After that, subject to review by the General Assembly, it would be increased according to the Consumer Price Index. The phase-in looks like this under the proposal:

  • $32,076 minimum for the 2019-2020 school year
  • $34,576 minimum for the 2020-2021 school year
  • $37,076 minimum for the 2021-2022 school year
  • $40,000 minimum for the 2022-2023 school year

“There are teachers in the Senate district I represent who live below the federal poverty level today – that’s a fact, and it’s happening all over Illinois. Yet we continue to ask teachers to do more with less, to cure the ills of society and to give away more of the pensions they’ve earned,” Manar said.

“We have chipped away at this over time, and if we don’t guarantee a decent salary for college graduates, we’re not going to get young people to go into this profession in the first place.”

The proposal, Senate Bill 2892, passed 37-16 and received bipartisan support.

Category: Latest News

SPRINGFIELD – Audit results released today regarding the Rauner administration’s pricey lease of a Springfield warehouse for paper storage confirms what some lawmakers have known all along: that the deal doesn’t pass the smell test.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), chairman of the Senate Appropriations II Committee, said he is troubled by the audit report.

“At various points in the process, people chose to ignore rules, guidelines and best practices that are there to eliminate questions about backroom deals and political favors,” Manar said. “This was an unnecessary cost to taxpayers, and it seems to me the problems uncovered by this audit merit further scrutiny.”

A summary of the audit can be found here. The full audit can be found here.

Background on the situation can be found here and here.

“I still have a lot of questions, and I think it is clear more conversations should occur, not the least of which are about the ethical expectations and the spending priorities of the Rauner administration,” Manar said.

“Ultimately, I think the average Illinois taxpayer doesn’t believe we should be spending money on politically connected leases for storing paper. We have more important needs in Illinois. I’ve never understood why any of this happened to begin with.”

Category: Latest News

BUNKER HILL – Area public libraries will receive more than $344,000 in state grants for services, materials, equipment and technology, State Senator Andy Manar announced today.

“Public libraries are heart of many of the communities I represent in Springfield,” Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said. “I am pleased that Secretary of State Jesse White has chosen to support them in this way.”

The Illinois secretary of state awarded money from two different programs: the Illinois Public Library Per Capita grant and the Equalization Aid grants.

One area library received a 2018 Equalization Aid grant:

  • Frank Bertetti Public Library in Benld $1,035.50

Area libraries receiving 2018 Per Capita grants and the amounts are:

  • Assumption Public Library District $2,322.50
  • Frank Bertetti Public Library in Benld $1,945.00
  • Blue Mound Memorial Library District $3,058.75
  • Brighton Memorial Library District $2,817.50
  • Bunker Hill Public Library District $5,337.50
  • Carlinville Public Library $7,396.25
  • Decatur Public Library $95,152.50
  • Farmersville-Waggoner Public Library District $2,063.75
  • Gillespie Public Library $4,148.75
  • Girard Township Library $3,082.50
  • Harristown Public Library District $2,401.25
  • Hillsboro Public Library $7,758.75
  • Litchfield Public Library District $11,240.00
  • Kitchell Memorial Library in Morrisonville $1,528.75
  • Mount Olive Public Library $2,623.75
  • Nokomis Public Library $3,673.75
  • Carnegie-Schuyler Library in Pana $7,308.75
  • Doyle Public Library District in Raymond $2,360.00
  • Lincoln Public Library in Springfield $145,312.50
  • Staunton Public Library $6,423.75
  • Stonington Township Public Library $1,413.75
  • Taylorville Public Library $14,057.50
  • Grand Prairie of the West Public Library District in Virden $6,370.00
  • Witt Township Memorial Library $1,453.75
  • Worden Public Library District $1,740.00

Total Per Capita grants: $342,991.25

Per Capita grants help libraries pay for materials, personnel, equipment, electronic access, telecommunications and technology. Equalization Aid grants help qualifying public libraries with a low library tax base ensure a minimum level of funding for library services.

Statewide, libraries were awarded more than $15 million through the two grant programs this year.

Category: Latest News

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Springfield Office:
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