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Today’s number: $58.1 million

Friday, Aug 28, 2015

* From a press release…

The Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association on Friday rolled out an analysis of the legislation, House Bill 1, that estimates that the $15.1 million cost to implement the plan, which was calculated by the Rauner Administration, would be offset by $73.2 million in healthcare savings from the remainder of the Illinois Medicaid budget or a net savings of $58.1 million, an estimate the group describes as “conservative.”

“Our cost-benefit analysis of the anti-heroin legislation reveals that, once the other healthcare savings are offset, the Illinois Medicaid program would save an estimated $58.1 million,” said IADDA CEO Sara Moscato Howe. “We consider that a conservative estimate because no prison cost savings were included in our calculations.”

Rauner vetoed sections of the legislation that would have granted Medicaid insurance coverage for medication such as Methadone and Naltrexone and therapy programs to treat addiction.

Illinois heroin overdose deaths have been escalating since 2011, according to Illinois Department of Public Health data. Last year, 633 heroin overdose deaths were recorded in Illinois, up from 583 in 2013. In fact, Illinois has the highest number of heroin overdoses nationwide, Howe noted.

Howe also pointed to a just published Roosevelt University study that showed that Illinois funding for drug treatment has fallen nearly 30% since 2007 while treatment capacity has fallen 52% during that same period - making Illinois the worst state in the nation for declining treatment capacity.

“Illinois - the suburbs, downstate especially - are being swept up in a heroin wild fire that is consuming teenagers and young adults as the principal victims,” said Howe. “Lawmakers recognized the danger. That’s why the Illinois House voted 114-0 in favor of the bill.”

Howe pointed out that in fiscal year 2014, there were 20,870 Illinois residents who entered publicly funded treatment indicating a problem with either Heroin or prescription opiates. Only 2,099 received Opioid Maintenance Therapy treatment.

IADDA’s vice president for substance abuse policy, Eric Foster, said that the group based its financial impact analysis on an average of healthcare savings-offset of $4.87 per person who would be expected to be eligible for heroin treatment using Methadone.

“By leaving heroin addiction untreated, the accompanying ill-health side effects, for which a person is otherwise Medicaid eligible, spread, worsen and cost far more to address,” said Foster. “‘Saving $15 million on left-side of the spreadsheet means nothing if you’re spending $73 million on the right-side of the spreadsheet.”

The Illinois House is expected to seek an override vote on Wednesday, September 2.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anon - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 8:52 am:

    I think their cost benefit analysis failed to take into account the fact that investing in programs or infrastructure for future savings or benefit is government waste.

    The future should worry about their problems. It’s completely selfish for the future to expect us to do things that make their lives better.

  2. - Wordslinger - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 8:53 am:

    With a superstar budget consultant capable of “saving us billions” and a budget director, you’d think the administration could have conducted that obvious and common-sense analysis on its own.

    Not to mention the savings that could accrue from junkies not knocking over liquor stores to feed the monkey or dying in the streets with a spike in tneir arms.

    Perhaps a budget generalissimo needs to be thrown into the mix, like a tiebreaker. Maybe the deputy governors can run it past the Chief of Staff and COO.

    Is there a CEO yet? Because this fiscal situation is out of control.

  3. - Politix - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 8:54 am:

    I wonder if Rauner realizes the public safety implications of these cuts. They’re counter to efforts toward criminal justice reform, which he’s made a priority. Drug crimes and crimes resulting from addiction are a significant contributor to prison overcrowding.

  4. - Jack Stephens - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 9:03 am:


    The Government Program called “The War On Drugs” has cost Trillions and Trillions of dollars!

    The CEO of the Corrections Corp of America and it’s investors make trillions off of this Social Engineering program put into law (originally) by Right Wing Conservatives….without ensuring there is enough revenue to make self sufficient!

  5. - Cassandra - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 9:04 am:

    Those struggling with heroin and other drug addictions would be far better off if the feds reimbursed 100 percent for treatment costs under the ACA/Medicaid. This would take a lot of advocacy on the part of the treatment community–work, in other words–but if we can afford to engage in various wars all over the world, we can afford to treat this disease.

    The illegal drug trade is a national problem, which the DEA was supposed to fix. Their efforts over several decades have been an total failure. Illegal drugs continue to pour into the county; the national illegal drug trade is thriving and our own Chicago is a national transshipment point. So if we can afford this not very effective national agency, we can afford to fund treatment using 100 percent federal funds, instead of burdening local, overtaxed state taxpayers. Likely a provider would rather rely on a federal subsidy than hope for payment from one of the country’s worst-managed state governments.
    We don’t read about Medicare payments being delayed in Illinois.

  6. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 9:10 am:

    Penny wise and pound foolish.

  7. - Mama - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 9:24 am:

    Good luck Cassandra in getting any federal funds.

  8. - Team Sleep - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 9:39 am:

    I get being fiscally conservative and conscious. But when the bill zoomed out of the House and passed on a 46-4-6 roll call in the Senate, that’s what I consider the sign of legit, bipartisan concern and efforts.

    I also wonder if some of this is a shot against Rep. Lang. I’d hate to think it is, but Lang is pretty aggressive in his language against the Governor.

    Anyone who comments on the site know that I’m obviously not a fan of being a jerk to prove a point, but perhaps this is a good indication that maybe both sides need to cool down the rhetoric and not scream into the microphone when making a point. After this legislation was passed, Rep. Lang spent quite a bit of time on the floor of the House mocking and demeaning the Governor. Was that really the best way to ensure your signature legislation for the 99th GA would be signed into law and fully implemented? Rauner clearly holds no punches, so I’m wondering if perhaps Rep. Lang’s diatribes sent Gov. Rauner over the edge.

  9. - HangingOn - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 9:44 am:

    ==The future should worry about their problems.==

    Isn’t that how we got into the pension mess in the first place? I’ll take mine now, we’ll worry about it later? Didn’t seem to work so well that time…

  10. - How Ironic - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 9:51 am:

    Well, at least the motorcycle training classes are still free…so the addicts have that going for them.

  11. - What? - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 9:54 am:

    Those are FUTURE savings. We run a CURRENT deficit and our poorly managed Medicaid system is a primary reason for this. When we achieve balanced operations than we should talk about new expenditures.

    Can someone explain why Florida has a larger (and growing) population and larger GDP than us, but their state brings in less tax revenue and balances its budget? Why can’t Illinois do the same? Why are we always talking about how to tax more or increase expenditures, rather than discussing real structural reform?

  12. - Me too - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 10:06 am:

    I can’t wait to see Rauner’s reaction as he starts to be overridden. He’s going to flip out when he finds out that not only is he not a CEO, but another branch of government is co-equal. Maybe he’ll start working with the lege more after he finds out, but I’m not holding my breath.

  13. - Anon - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 10:11 am:

    - What? - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 9:54 am:

    ===Those are FUTURE savings. We run a CURRENT deficit and our poorly managed Medicaid system is a primary reason for this.===

    Refusing to pay adequate taxes for the last 40 years is the primary reason for that.

    ===Can someone explain why Florida has a larger (and growing) population and larger GDP than us but their state brings in less tax revenue and balances its budget?===

    Sure. Florida is okay with a child services program that is responsible for 477 children dying under it’s care since 2008. You get the government you pay for.

    ===Why can’t Illinois do the same?===

    Because you’re presenting a false choice. You’re not addressing that the governments provide different services and provide them to different quality and effectiveness standards. You’re comparing two dissimilar things. Consider this: what’s Orlando’s annual snow removal budget look like?

  14. - D.P.Gumby - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 10:19 am:

    Since when does rational government policy play a role in Brucie’s world?

  15. - Me too - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 10:20 am:

    Florida is a major draw for retirees seeking a warmer winter climate. Boomers are retiring and moving to Florida. It’s not that complicated, but basically, Illinois is not a retirement destination even though we don’t tax retirement income. We’ll also never draw as many tourists. So raising the sales tax and eliminating the income tax here would not have the same effect as it does in Florida. There it basically scoops up tourist dollars as well as residents to fund government. It is still regressive there, but we’d need much higher sales taxes, say 13-15% to make up for no income tax. This means low income workers would be taxed 15% on their post federal tax income rather than 3.75 pretax plus sales taxes of 7% or so outside of Chicago. Meanwhile someone making 100 million per year is only taxed on what they spend, so maybe 15% of 1 million or 150 thousand dollars. This makes their effective rate .15 percent while the guy washing dishes is paying 15%. How on earth is that fair.

    Oh and without an amazon tax, more people will shop online to avoid sales tax (then not declare anything for use tax) so we’d hurt local retailers too.

    Simplistic analysis supporting plutocrat’s agenda really should not be taken at face value and regurgitated as if it will snow others as effectively as it has snowed you.

  16. - walker - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 10:20 am:

    significantly more Federal dollars flow into Florida, especially for human services and healthcare. Illinois dollars flow out to the Feds.

  17. - What? - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 10:25 am:

    You’re right the states do provide different services. The state government of Florida spends more on education than Illinois does. This concept that Illinois does not pay adequate taxes fails to account for the second highest property taxes in the country, an average income tax rate (in comparison to other states that levy an income tax), and a sales tax rate that is higher than average, but has a smaller base (more exempt services). No statistic suggests that Illinois does not tax enough.

    Keep knocking Florida while their job and population growth continues to outpace us.

    Your false choice is tax more and spend out of balance or you want kids to die. Makes perfect sense.

  18. - Anon III - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 10:31 am:

    “the $15.1 million cost to implement the plan, … would be offset by $73.2 million in healthcare savings from the remainder of the Illinois Medicaid budget or a net savings of $58.1 million, … .
    “Our cost-benefit analysis of the anti-heroin legislation reveals that, once the other healthcare savings are offset, the Illinois Medicaid program would save an estimated $58.1 million,” …

    Implicit in these statements is an assumption of the effectiveness of the treatment of heroin addiction. That’s a stretch of credibility.

    I wish the program would save the $58.1 million, or even the $15.8 million cost, but I think the projections rest upon an assumptions concerning success of treatment. If treatment were successful, suburban addicted kids, with ample medical and social support, would not be dying.

    I would like to be wrong.

  19. - Wordslinger - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 10:32 am:

    Dude, Florida has been growing like gangbusters since Mr. Carrier invented that air conditioning machine.

  20. - What? - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 10:38 am:

    So you’re right. Florida does receive a higher FMAP rate (60.67%) versus Illinois (50.89%), but that only accounts for Medicaid services. No doubt Medicaid is a big part of every state’s budget, but Illinois’ negative General Fund balance exceeds 10% of total revenue, so I’m not sure if this explains the whole picture, but it is a good point.

  21. - Mama - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 10:44 am:

    Job growth in Florida? Where?

  22. - Team Sleep - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 10:52 am:

    Slinger - man, you crack me up every day. Thanks for the laughs. My older son has asked me before why people like to live in Florida. I seriously want to bust out laughing before I remind myself that I’m explaining the concept to a second grader who loves living in Springfield and gets excited to come back home when we’re visiting relatives or on the road for a short trip.

  23. - What? - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 11:22 am:

    FYI- Orlando Sentinel

    FYI- Forbes

    Mindless state jingoism helps no one. Start facing reality and look for real solutions. Tax and spend is not an economic policy.

  24. - Give Me A Break - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 11:25 am:

    What: HB 1 is not a question of spending new money. The question is where Illinois spends the money to treat addiction issues. But make no mistake about it, Illinois will spend dollars to do this. Either you will treat it in hospital ERs, homeless shelters or prisons, but this population will not go away.

  25. - Me too - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:03 pm:

    What? Look at the rate of children per capita. The average age is much higher in Florida because while they gain retirees, we lose them to states like AZ, TX and, you guessed it, Florida. So they spend more per student, that has nothing to do with the fact there are fewer kids in Florida I suppose.

  26. - What? - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:04 pm:

    @Give Me a Break
    You’re not helping anyone by spending good money after bad. No doubt these people need help, but this is not a new problem. Reform and then you can discuss priorities and spending. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that this money will even benefit the people it is supposed to help. Remember, it was only a couple of years ago that Illinois finally started sorting out people from the Medicaid system that didn’t live in this state or had wealth levels above the threshold for eligibility. You cannot expect a dysfunctional state to be a panacea for all the problems that plague society. If you want to help them right now, donate money to the countless non-profits that serve this population.

  27. - What? - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:11 pm:

    @Me too
    To assume that all the growth in Florida is due to retirees is to ignore census numbers. Of course, Florida has more retirees than Illinois, but that would suggest increased costs for that state (some low-income elderly people would be eligible for Medicaid in addition to Medicare) and even less revenue (FL has permanent property tax freezes for the elderly and the state, like IL, does not tax retirement income).
    As far as children, the percentage of the population that is below age 20 for FL is 23.57% and for IL it is 26.86%. That isn’t a significant disparity.
    Why is it so difficult for IL residents to accept the fact that there are structural problems in this state? Instead of quibbling about the numbers, why can’t you accept reality?

  28. - Give Me A Break - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:29 pm:

    What: Those “countless non-profits” are being gutted by cuts. If you think that is the answer I can’t help you.

  29. - MyTwoCents - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:48 pm:

    What?, how much is Florida paying into retirement systems per year? How much is Illinois? How much of Illinois’ pension payments is debt due to the artificially low tax structure for decades and shorting the funds? If IL was only paying the normal cost the budget situation would look dramatically different and that has nothing to do with Medicaid.

  30. - What? - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 12:58 pm:

    @Give Me a Break
    If you think that all non-profits rely on government support than I can’t help you.

  31. - What? - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:02 pm:

    Artificially low taxes? Not compounded COLAs that were implemented in the early 1990’s? Not shortchanging the pension system pretty much since its inception, thereby, increasing ARC payments?
    Again, there are zero statistics showing that Illinois does not tax enough. There are many statistics that show otherwise. You need to read the CAFR. You need to not just assume that because their is math involved that it is some right-wing conspiracy.

  32. - What? - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:06 pm:

    Also, ARC payments for the State of Illinois has been around 10%-20% of the budget. No doubt, higher than other states that have been more responsible with funding their system. Medicaid costs, though, comprises nearly 40% of the GF budget (more than all education expenditures) and has increased at a faster rate, just as all healthcare costs have over the past twenty years.
    See what happens when you look at numbers? You realize that your assumptions are false.

  33. - Anon - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 1:44 pm:

    - What? - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 10:25 am:

    ===No statistic suggests that Illinois does not tax enough===

    Except for the structural budget deficit or “gap” that is billions of dollars a year. If your statement is true, the budget gap would not exist.

    If you really think the answer is “we spend too much” please identify the 9.5 or 10 billion dollars you would like to cut from state spending to close the gap.

  34. - What? - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 2:31 pm:

    If you honestly do not think that Illinois taxes too much than why do we have the second highest property taxes in the country? Why is our income tax rate considered average (for the time being) in comparison to other states that levy income taxes? Why is our sales tax rate (levied by the state) one of the highest in the country for states that also have an income tax?
    We should reform taxes and expenditures. First, property taxes need to be capped. Nearly every state in the nation has real property tax caps. Our state property tax caps only apply to non-home rule communities (nearly no local government is non-home rule). Second, we should expand the base of the sales tax (not increase the rate). We tax the least amount of services (in comparison to our neighbors) and have ridiculous exemptions on sales tax for manufacturing machinery (a complete government hand-out to Caterpillar, John Deere, and what use to be International Harvester). Third, we need to tax at least some retirement income (we are only one of three states that tax zero retirement income).
    But none of this should happen until we reform our expenditures. We need to modernize our Medicaid system and structure it like an HMO plan, like most states did decades ago. And, yes, we need to completely reform our pension system. Compounded COLAs are unsustainable and our OPEB benefits are far too generous. If that requires amending the state constitution (like it appears it will) than we should move forward on a constitutional convention.
    Again, your side fails to show a single statistic suggesting that IL does not tax enough. Your solution is just tax more. But our population is shrinking (or at least not growing as fast as the rest of the nation) and our economy is pathetically weak. While every other state is moving toward reducing taxes and reforming expenditures, we remain the only state that believes in the old failed mantra “tax and spend”.

  35. - Wordslinger - Friday, Aug 28, 15 @ 2:37 pm:

    What, you’re really going to town on that $15 million to help junkies to kick that saves money overall, and has the added benefit of just being the common-sense humane thing to do.

    Your ideas on the the current $6 billion plus deficit?

    Here’s a visual aid.



    Those extra zeroes pack a punch. And they don’t include the billions not budgeted for social services and MAP.

    Perhaps you can schedule a meeting with ArchBishop Cupich and explain to him how Catholic Charities won’t get shut down this year without state funding,

    Maybe go with the loaves of bread, a couple of fish and fhe multitudes story.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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