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SEIU files restraining order over health insurance

Monday, Nov 23, 2015

* AP

A labor union representing Illinois home health care workers has filed legal action to force government payment of health insurance costs.

Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois filed suit in St. Clair County Circuit Court on Friday seeking a temporary restraining order against Gov. Bruce Rauner and Comptroller Leslie Munger.

The union contends that they have refused to pay the government’s portion of health insurance costs despite a contractual obligation. It says the state owes $1.5 million from last year and $11.8 million since July. The union says if the state doesn’t pay up, the workers will lose insurance after Dec. 31.

* From an SEIU press release

Despite a contract between home care workers in Illinois’ Home Services Program requiring the State to contribute health insurance benefits for workers, Gov. Rauner has refused to pay the State’s contribution to the workers’ health fund. Rauner’s administration owes the health fund $1.5 million from fiscal year 2015, as well as approximately $11.8 million for work already performed for the months of July through October in fiscal year 2016.

By violating the State’s legal obligation to make payments to the health fund, nearly 5,000 low-wage personal assistants are on the brink of losing their health insurance just as the Holiday Season begins. Most personal assistants are only given limited or part-time hours and make on average $15,000 to $18,000 annually.

To prevent this devastating harm to home care workers and to preserve the continuity of the workforce to provide services, SEIU Healthcare Illinois filed its Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order to protect the health insurance of its members.

If the State fails to honor its contractual obligations to continue health contributions for home healthcare workers, the workers will lose all of their health insurance after December 31st, 2015.

* I asked the governor’s office for a response…

Hi, Rich –

The state has no appropriation authority to pay the program because the majority party in the legislature has refused to pass a balanced budget.

Thanks,
ck

- Posted by Rich Miller        

29 Comments
  1. - AlabamaShake - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:20 am:

    **The state has no appropriation authority to pay the program because the majority party in the legislature has refused to pass a balanced budget.**

    The state has no appropriation for almost anything that they’re paying. They went to court to be allowed to pay state employee payroll. They’re not cutting off health insurance for AFSCME members.

    Yet somehow they’re willing to cut off health insurance for the lowest paid state employees in the State.

    Got it.


  2. - illini97 - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:20 am:

    To the Governor’s response:
    I’m sorry, did we all miss the minority party or the Governor presenting a balanced budget to vote on?


  3. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:21 am:

    “Hi Rich -

    The state has no appropriation authority to pay that program because we couldn’t find our item veto pen. Furthermore, no one here could divide by 12 for a monthly budget.

    Thanks,
    ck”


  4. - cdog - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:36 am:

    Just kick them over to the ACA Marketplace. The $5000 and $10000 deductibles shouldn’t be a problem. WooHoo! Crappy insurance for all! /s


  5. - Bulldog58 - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:37 am:

    Hi, Rich –

    The state has no appropriation authority to pay the program because the Governor didn’t submit a balanced budget.

    Thanks,
    ck


  6. - Honeybear - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:37 am:

    GET SOME SEIU!


  7. - HangingOn - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:42 am:

    So what’s the excuse for not paying the FY15 amount when there *was* a budget? I thought everything from FY15 was supposed to be paid regardless of how long an FY16 budget took.


  8. - Dome Gnome - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:44 am:

    Hi, Rich –

    We will pay for newspaper ads to explain why we can’t pay for health insurance. The people of Illinois will read, nod, and understand.

    Thanks,
    ck


  9. - Skeptic - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:49 am:

    Hi, Rich -

    Because Madigan

    Thanks,
    ck


  10. - Daniel Plainview - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:56 am:

    I hope someone showed ck how to set up an automatic response so she’s not just typing the same thing over and over. For most people this level of regurgitation would get old.


  11. - cdog - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:57 am:

    Court Order– the normal way of doing business with the Rauner Administration.

    Higher Ed needs to pay attention to the new best business practices we have here.

    /lots o’snark

    It’s going to be a long 3 more years.


  12. - old pol - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:04 am:

    The judge should dismiss the lawsuit in 3,2,1…

    All contracts are “subject to appropriation”.

    What a waste of time and court resources.


  13. - Century Club - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:14 am:

    AlabamaShake +1

    Is “These people gave a lot of money to my opponent” a legitimate defense in court?


  14. - UIC Guy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:20 am:

    Century club +1

    Also: what happens when (perhaps we’re already there) there are court orders mandating more spending every month than the state is taking in? No, really, I’d like to know: what happens?


  15. - burbanite - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:21 am:

    How nice of her to clarify that for you Rich!


  16. - cdog - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:29 am:

    @UIC Guy. We are there. The Comptrollers website says that as of Friday, the unpaid bill backlog was $7,078,498,878.

    Two choices, borrow or tax. (I don’t know if bankruptcy is an option. You know just get the erasor out. /s)

    I prefer tax.


  17. - budget please - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:30 am:

    Dear Politics,

    The least you’ll can do as soon as possible is passing the 4305 bill. It will help some until you finish fighting. You’ll are really hurting hard working families, also hurting the education of our children. Which it shows you’ll don’t care. Only care about votes and pointing fingers. #this state is a mess!


  18. - budget please - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    Rich,

    Was the lastest on 4305 bill?


  19. - Anon221 - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    And, meanwhile, over at the Lottery-

    “We apologize for not paying you,” ads are being paid for. I wish I could type the word “Priorites” upside down!


  20. - Anon221 - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:49 am:

    HB4305

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=4305&GAID=13&SessionID=88&LegID=92538


  21. - budget please - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 11:24 am:

    Thanks anon221


  22. - UIC Guy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 11:49 am:

    cdog: thanks for the response. But just not paying your bills isn’t really the same as borrowing. (A loan is a contract between two willing parties, for one thing.) My question was: if the courts can require the state to make certain payments, but cannot force the state to raise taxes (my preference too) or to borrow in the regular way, then what? The unpaid bills mount up. And presumably at some point those providing goods and services to the state (and not being paid under court order) just stop doing so. And then what? How does this end?


  23. - Franker - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 12:04 pm:

    cdog — you actually make interesting point. Could it be that the folks in this program would actually get a better deal (lower costs, higher quality) with ACA — either through Medicaid or exchange? How good of a plan is the SEIU plan?


  24. - Franker - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 12:08 pm:

    Wait, if the SEIU is successful with a court order, they could jump to the head of the funding line, right? Ahead of funding for non-profits, etc.?


  25. - Demoralized - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 1:11 pm:

    @old pol:

    Apparently you aren’t aware of all of the current court ordered and federally mandated payments that are currently going out without an appropriation.

    So it’s hardly a “waste of time” to file this.


  26. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 1:27 pm:

    ==- Daniel Plainview - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:56 am:==

    ck isn’t most people, she’s a superstar!


  27. - AlabamaShake - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 1:45 pm:

    **The judge should dismiss the lawsuit in 3,2,1… All contracts are “subject to appropriation”. What a waste of time and court resources.**

    You must have missed the AFSCME pay raise lawsuit.

    **Wait, if the SEIU is successful with a court order, they could jump to the head of the funding line, right? Ahead of funding for non-profits, etc.?**

    No, not necessarily.


  28. - RNUG - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 4:14 pm:

    – I don’t know if bankruptcy is an option. –

    Bankruptcy is not a legal option for states unless you change Federal law.


  29. - cdog - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 6:43 pm:

    @franker 12:04. I do not know the details of the SEIU health ins benefit that they are fighting to maintain.

    Also, their status as either employee or independent contractor seems to be fluid.

    If they are employees, I think they would have to stay in an employer plan because the group is over the minimum to exempt the employer from providing insurance.

    If they are subcontractors, they could go on the exchange and receive a subsidy for the premiums.

    The problem then, is the exchange products have such high deductibles that they are a rip-off. Taxpayers are paying for the subsidies; the insured can’t use services because of high deductibles; the insurance companies complain about profits but pay $48billion cash for each other in massive consolidation episodes.

    Single-payer baby! 3rd tier pharmaceuticals for all regardless of race, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, income, employment, etc!

    (I know I am dreaming… This isn’t Canada, Japan, a Scandinavian country, etc …)


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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