Rauner full speed ahead on state health care reform

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Gov. Rauner’s Medicaid overhaul is once again in the spotlight.

Governor Rauner is moving ahead with his changes to state health care for the poor even though Democrats want him to hit the breaks.

Today, Democratic lawmakers called the first of several hearings on the matter.

Among their concerns is a contract handed out to a consulting firm without competition.

Today, Rauner said he had to get a consultant on the job quickly because courts have ordered the state to provide Medicaid service.

“We’re following the law and the process and we went through very transparent and we talked to many firms and McKinsey gave us the best proposal,” he said.

Medicaid is a huge chunk of Illinois’s budget so planning for costs is important.

Rauner’s overhaul plan looks at managed care. The goal is to get insurers to focus on preventative care. A healthier population would save the state money in the long run.

“What we are committed to is reducing the overall cost of our Medicaid program while keeping the quality of health care high,” he said.

The Rauner administration finalized contracts with seven insurers worth $15 billion a year — an increase of $4.5 billion a year more.

But Rauner insists his overhaul will save money.

“Our numbers indicate we’re going to save a billion dollars through Medicaid through our changes,” he said.

But it’s not just cost. Some health care providers have raised concerns about the managed care expansion.

The Great Lakes Home Medical Services Association released a statement saying:

Governor Rauner’s choice to rush through the largest procurement in Illinois history is already having a predictable outcome: higher costs and increased risk for our most vulnerable patients.

The governor says he will be providing the cost savings under his overhaul soon.