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OK, maybe not…

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009

*** UPDATE *** Apparently, the Pantagraph had it wrong. Stuff happens. The paper has now published a new story which completely contradicts its earlier story…

Illinois public health officials say there will be more, not fewer workers testing for swine flu and other diseases if the governor’s budget is adopted.

Although Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposed spending plan calls for cuts at the three labs that conduct tests, a separate line in the budget would add an additional 16 workers, said Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold.

Arnold said Wednesday the additional workers will be funded through a different revenue stream than the other employees, who are set to be reduced by three.

Okeedokee. I’m gonna strike out the rest of this…

* National Democrats have made a big stink about how the Republicans stripped pandemic preparedness funding out of the federal stimulus bill. Well

Gov. Pat Quinn is proposing to cut the number of workers at state laboratories that process swine flu samples. […]

Quinn’s chief spokesman referred questions to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which did not respond to requests for elaboration.

The reductions, contained in Quinn’s budget plan that was crafted before swine flu found its ways into the headlines, also include the elimination of expenses associated with the state’s pandemic flu preparedness efforts. […]

Along with the proposed personnel cuts, the governor’s budget also would eliminate all funds associated with pandemic flu preparation, saving an estimated $57,800.

Oops.

* Speaking of the budget, sometimes, no governor can win. From a Belleville News-Democrat editorial

We objected last fall when then Gov. Rod Blagojevich swung his budget ax at Fort de Chartres, the Pierre Menard Home, the Cahokia Courthouse and other state historic sites. He likely chose them for cost cutting because he knew it would rile the public and embarrass lawmakers.

But Gov. Pat Quinn’s decision to reopen them last week didn’t make good sense, either.

***Sigh***

* The Kankakee Daily Journal is against the concept but for the proposal

We see the [proposed Illinois] tobacco tax as another step in the increasing regulation of your health. We have said it before. A government that pays for your blood pressure pills will eventually regulate just about everything that can give you high blood pressure. Some states now ban smoking in cars if minors are present. Municipalities have pondered banning smoking in rented apartments.

Schools have banned junk food. A sugar tax is being contemplated in some cities as a means of fighting obesity.

But taxing tobacco out of existence is a fairly easy call. Unlike even sugar, there’s nothing to be said for it being beneficial in moderation. Tobacco use in all forms is harmful. Cigarettes, too, are a relatively modern phenomenon. Tobacco use predated Columbus. But the modern mass-marketed machine-paper rolled cigarette is less than a century old.

Its demise will not be lamented here.

* Related…

* Taxpayer group opposes Gov. Quinn’s income tax hike: The NTUI says instead, state employess should contribute more to their own pensions and healthcare funds. NTUI President James Tobin says, “Five percentage points more would reduce the pension benefit liabilities by more than 20 billion dollars.”

* Quinn not sold on Howe recommendation

* Panel says to close Howe; gov. mum

* Howe Developmental Center: Panel recommends closing care center

* Panel Backs Closing Tinley Park Centers

* Take precautions but don’t panic

* Local health officials hope to walk line between panic, pandemic

* Illinois reports first cases of probable swine flu

* Probable swine flu closes Rogers Park school

* “Probable” Swine Flu in Chicago

* No cutbacks for kids’ summer programs

- Posted by Rich Miller        

14 Comments
  1. - SangoDem - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 10:51 am:

    Who cares about pandemic preparedness funding? There is no pandemic. There’s only an hysterical, out of control national press.


  2. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 10:54 am:

    Keeping Howe around is costing the state $30 mil a year in lost medicaid reimbursement. It is not likely that the state will be able to get the facility re-certified. $30 mil is alot of cash. The facility has too many problems and can’t be fixed. The state can place the residents in other facilities that will be eligible to receive the reimbursement.

    What is the mystery here? Close it.


  3. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 10:55 am:

    ===Who cares about pandemic preparedness funding? ===

    As I pointed out at the top of the post, the national Democrats made this a major partisan issue earlier this week.


  4. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 11:02 am:

    The mystery is probably that AFSCME will make a fuss and Quinn is horse trading with them on budget issues, which, we don’t know exactly. But we know AFSCME is probably tougher than he is.

    Now that Carol Adams, a Democratic political insider, lost her bid to become president of CSU, I wonder will Quinn keep her as head of DHS. Among other problems, Howe lost certification on her watch. That’s costing us tens of millions a year since Illinois taxpayers are picking up the tab the feds formerly paid.


  5. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 11:03 am:

    I recognize the line of logic in that Belleville editorial. Honey, I’ll be home a little later — pick up a gallon of milk, please.


  6. - 2ConfusedCrew - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 11:31 am:

    OMG University of Emil Job goes to Someone other than DoctorCarolAdams
    After weeks of controversy, Chicago State University’s board picked Wayne Watson this morning to be the school’s next president.

    The choice of Watson, who is retiring as chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago, was met by boos from a packed audience.

    “The pick of Watson puts politics, contracts and jobs above academic excellence,” said student Michael O‚Connor.

    The other finalist for the post was another political figure - Carol Adams, secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

    How can we survive??????/


  7. - ICDD - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 12:13 pm:

    Consider the facts:

    The Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities recently released this video in which former Howe residents allege abuse:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJzyJHS3K0Y&feature=channel_page

    In 2008, the death rate at Howe was 3x that of other Illinois institutions.

    According to figures shared yesterday by the Gov’s appointed taxpayer action board, the state is spending an average of $186,000 per resident at Howe compared to an estimated $71,000 per resident at other Illinois institutions. The reason for the disparity? Howe lost its federal certification and all matching funds in 2007 after a federal investigation revealed civil rights violations there.

    We must close this failed institution.


  8. - Skirmisher - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 12:57 pm:

    Gotta agree with the Belleville News Democrat on this one. Reopening the historic sites without getting the funding on a permanent sound basis was not responsible.


  9. - The Shadow - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 1:32 pm:

    Make tobacco illegal, but legalize marijuana?

    Hmm. Not a whole lot of logic there, but a good example of how far out of whack Springfield is.


  10. - Amy - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 1:46 pm:

    rich, you leave the text in and strike it out, showing the error made. you own up nicely. thanks for your professionalism.


  11. - Anders Lindall - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 2:15 pm:

    I am offended by the Youtube video linked above by the commenter “ICDD”. Rather than addressing a delicate issue seriously, it applies the lowest form of drive-by advertising tactics - ominous music, unverifiable attacks, anonymous sources - that are ripped straight from the worst negative political ads. These tactics may appeal to the lowest common denominator but they have absolutely no place in a serious policy debate. Even the Swift Boat crowd had the decency to stand behind their own names.

    On top of that, those pushing to close Howe will even exploit the tragedy of people’s deaths to further their political goal. I hope the previous commenter will (1) identify themselves, (2) identify those in their political attack ad so the claims can be investigated, (3) admit that EVERY death at Howe has been investigated and NONE has been linked to standard of care, and (4) apologize for continuing to use these deaths for their own political ends–especially those resulting from such obviously natural and inevitable causes as cancer, heart disease, and simple old age. (You never hear them mention the cause of these deaths, because they have nothing to do with standard of care.)

    Further, I would challenge this commenter and anyone else pushing to close Howe to explain why, exactly, they think they know better than the hundreds of family members of Howe residents who make up the Howe Friends and Family Association. These parents and siblings of Howe residents turned out en masse to the COGFA hearing where they testified passionately and unanimously in favor of keeping Howe open. Blindsided by your attack ad, they made their own Youtube video, using their own real names and filmed in the real home environment of Howe itself. It is amateurish, honest and heartfelt—a sharp contrast to yours. See for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3uDlkUamOs .

    As to the cost of care at Howe, it is absolutely more expensive right now due to the loss of federal dollars. That loss of funding is the result of decertification, which itself was caused by two factors—incompetent management by Blagojevich political hacks, and devastating Blagojevich cuts to the facility’s staff and funding. If the goal is to preserve services for individuals with profound developmental disabilities—and true choice of care setting for individuals, their doctors and their families—then the clear answer is to get Howe recertified. The path to recertification requires new, competent management at Howe and a serious investment to reverse the debilitating cuts of the Blagojevich years.

    Anders Lindall
    AFSCME Council 31


  12. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 2:59 pm:

    AL,

    So you get Howe recertified and then TPMHC gets closed and the property sold. Then what?


  13. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Apr 29, 09 @ 5:49 pm:

    AA thinks the decertification and closing is more about selling the property than quality of care. Could be wrong.


  14. - BG - Thursday, Apr 30, 09 @ 11:12 am:

    It started with a disgraced governor, perpetuated by unproven innuendos by US-funded groups with an agenda to close Howe and voted upon by a bunch of politcal hacks in DHS and COGFA. Behind all this are the moneyed interests licking their chops over the land. Nowhere have the Howe residents, their guardians and families been consulted or even spoken to. A done deal? I’d say so. It has nothing to do with the quality of care at Howe and everything to do with politics. As usual, the defenseless suffer. Maybe Governor Quinn will break this juggernaut, independently review the situation and restore Howe to its rightful place.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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