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Healthcare Proposal Worries Disabilities Advocates

The Capitol
Brian Mackey/WUIS

  Advocates for people with disabilities say they're worried Governor Pat Quinn's newest healthcare initiative would crowd out certain groups.

The governor's proposal would consolidate nine separate programs that serve people with disabilities. Michael Gelder, the governor's senior advisor on healthcare, says centralizing these programs would be more efficient.

"Each of those requires a separate administrative staff and a separate appropriations and a separate provider network and separate contracts and provider agreements," he said. "Those can be very wasteful having all that separate administration."

Most of all, though, Gelder says the proposal would improve care for everyone receiving services.

But Vickie Kean, a lobbyist for prominent disability action group Don Moss and Associates, is worried efforts to streamline funding and services could ignore small, local agencies, like the ones she represents.

"We're really concerned that when you lump all that stuff together into one little pot, the little guy gets pushed down," she said. "And we tend to be the little guy, financially speaking."

Kean and other advocates say they're also worried about how quickly the changes are rolling out. Gelder, though, says this has been in the works for more than a year.

Hannah covers state government and politics for Capitol News Illinois. She's been dedicated to the statehouse beat since interning at NPR Illinois in 2014, with subsequent stops at WILL-AM/FM, Law360, Capitol Fax and The Daily Line before returning to NPR Illinois in 2020 and moving on to CNI in 2023.
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