(Springfield, IL) — March 23, 2010. The Illinois House attempted a little health care reform of its own today by approving a bill to help draw child psychiatrists to chronically under-served southern Illinois.
The House voted 114-0 for legislation, House Bill 5053 sponsored State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), that creates a program in the Illinois Department of Public Health to provide grants, loans or loan forgiveness to recruit and retain child psychiatrists in under-served areas of the state, such as southern Illinois.
Where the money will come from in cash-strapped Illinois is unclear.
In addition to Bradley, House sponsors include State Representatives: Dan Reitz, Brandon Phelps, Pat Verschoore, Dan Beisser, and Mike Smith–all Democrats.
The measure now moves to the State Senate for consideration.
While this is a well-intended, feel-good type of proposal, the reality is that the state of Illinois is so far behind on paying its bills, no specialists can afford to set up shop downstate in underserved areas. Virtually all these areas have large populations of indigent patients without any resources to pay for healthcare. The state of Illinois is approximately 48th out of 50th in the lowest reimbursemnts to physicians. And it cannot even pay these paltry payments to physicians, hospitals and pharmacies on time. What other “business” exists where the business is expected to provide services to a customer but then not receive payment for those services for up to 8-9 months. All the time being required to pay your office staff, insurance premiums, etc.
The whole system needs to be changed. And certainly not in any way similar to the massive spend-o-rama that was recently passed in partisan fashion at the federal level. If anyone believes it is possible to add 30 Million people to our already bloated healthcare system, without massively increasing expenses, then you are living in a dream world.
The federal bureaucracy has now proposed a massive increase in social programs, when in fact it cannot competently oversee the programs that are in place now. Why would anyone believe that the same people who are overseeing the problem-plagued Medicare & Medicaid programs will now be able to magically transform themselves into gurus at healthcare.
Back to the proposed House Bill 5053, I laude Representative Bradley’s efforts. But the reality of the situation is that the deep-rooted problems in our state need to be fixed before there is any hope for bringing child psyciatrists to rural and underserved areas of the state.
Tom Pliura, M.D., J.D.Posted by Tom Pliura | March 24, 2010, 5:45 PM
Le Roy, IL