ind the latest policy news from EverThrive IL below:
While the passage of the bipartisan budget package earlier this summer was an essential first step toward addressing the state's fiscal woes, we know that additional steps and measures are going to be essential to addressing Illinois' fiscal troubles, including the billions in overdue unpaid bills, over the long term. EverThrive IL, a proud member of the Responsible Budget Coalition, will continue to explore advocacy opportunities for permanent, fair and sustainable revenue solutions that ensure our state properly invests in the health of Illinois children, women and families.
We are excited to join advocates, activists, providers, unions and other stakeholders in Springfield on October 11th for a Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC) membership strategy meeting. This meeting will be a day of issue education, strategy development, and skills building as the RBC charts its next steps. Please RSVP to Kelsie Landers at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan on attending.
Non-Budget State Policy Updates:
On October 24, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services will launch the long awaited Manage My Case member portal, a part of the second phase of the Integrated Eligibility System (IES II). After setting up an account with Manage My Case, Medicaid members will be able to check their benefits, report changes to their case, submit renewal paperwork, and start an appeal. EverThrive Illinois will host a webinar with the Department of Healthcare Family Services on November 2, in which we will review the features of IES II, including how to create an account and a live demo of the patient portal.
The state is moving forward to implement the reform Medicaid Managed Care program, in which seven managed care organizations received contracts to provide service for nearly 80% of Medicaid enrollees across the state beginning January 1. Letters notifying current enrollees of the upcoming transition will begin going out this week; current managed care enrollees will be autoassigned to one of the 7 plans, with a 90 day period during which they may change their managed care plan. Medicaid members not currently enrolled in managed care will receive letters in the spring of 2018.
EverThrive IL provided testimony during a recent House Mental Health Committee subject matter hearing on mental health in the school system. EverThrive IL's Policy Director, Nadeen Israel, shared feedback and recommendations from the lens of School Health Centers as mental health providers to thousands of Illinois youth annually. Read the testimony here.
The House passed its 2018 budget resolution yesterday in a party-line vote. The budget resolution slashes trillions from Medicaid, Medicare, food and income assistance, education, housing, and more in order to pay for the GOP-led tax-reform provisions within this resolution.
A total of 18 Republicans voted against the 2018 budget resolution, along with all the Democrats who were present. The budget reconciliation rules would allow Republicans in the Senate to pass this budget resolution without any Democratic votes, though a "no" vote from just three republicans in the Senate (assuming all the Democrats voted "no") would defeat this budget resolution. The government is operating under a temporary spending measure that runs out on December 8. Congress and President Trump have to strike a new deal to prevent a shutdown after that deadline.
Meanwhile in the Senate, a budget resolution, released last week, also contains instructions that would permit changes to tax and health policy. The Senate budget resolution carves out $1.5 trillion in possible tax cuts, which the House is expected to agree to. However, the Senate is not expected to accept the $203 billion in mandatory cuts from the House budget resolution. The Senate is expected to hold a floor vote on its 2018 budget resolution sometime in mid-October.
We will continue to monitor this process, remain vigilant to ensure that ACA repeal and Medicaid reform proposals are not swept up in this debate, and advocate against any cuts to critical health and human service programs, including Medicaid, WIC, and SNAP.
Non-Budget Federal Policy Updates:
Thank you for helping to defeat the latest ACA repeal bill! At the end of last month, Senators Graham and Cassidy announced there would be no floor vote on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill. This was a huge victory for Illinoisans and health care consumers around the country. We are so thankful for your advocacy the past few weeks and months to stop this disastrous piece of legislation. We know that the fight to protect the ACA and Medicaid is far from over, but for now, we can breathe a small sigh of relief.
We hope our representatives in Congress will finally turn their attention to the very crucial health care decisions at hand such as CHIP reauthorization, community health center funding, MIECHV reauthorization and of course, marketplace stabilization efforts that were derailed by the Graham-Cassidy negotiations.
As we move forward, we will be gearing up for Open Enrollment, starting Wednesday, November 1, because we know that the ACA sabotage will continue and we must remain vigilant. Protecting access to quality health care for women and children remains a continuous effort as we work towards bipartisan solutions that help us achieve our goal of high quality health coverage across the state of Illinois.
Although Sept. 30 was the funding expiration date for CHIP, the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), and the Community Health Center Funding "Cliff", Congress has failed to take action. We know that without action as soon as possible, states, including Illinois, might have to begin making cuts to these programs. EverThrive Illinois and more than 50 partnering organizations have signed onto a letter sent to the Illinois Congressional Delegation, urging them to continue bi-partisan support and pass a clean, five-year extension on the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Funding. An estimated 325,000 Illinois children are currently enrolled in CHIP. Read the full letter here.