Possible Waste and Fraud in Affordable Care Act Advertising and Promotion
The process used to put the federal Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare,” into operation in 2013 left many controversies in its wake. One especially questioned move was the use by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of taxpayer dollars to advertise and sell the program in order to encourage uninsured American residents to sign up. Reports of HHS waste and overspending were widely circulated, and the Department’s then-Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, left the agency in June 2014.
In response to a request from State Rep. Darlene Senger, the nonpartisan Health and Human Services Inspector General announced plans to carry out a review of allegations that federal grant money was used to market and promote the Illinois ACA enrollment. The Inspector General’s office described the allegations as “possible criminal and civil fraud violations and misconduct relating to HHS programs, operations, and beneficiaries.” The review was made public on Friday, August 1.
Public records show that $69 million in federal money has been spent to promote the ACA in Illinois alone. Of this sum, $33 million has been allocated to “Get Covered Illinois,” a promotional program operated by Governor Pat Quinn’s Administration.
Illinois Workers’ Compensation Rates to fall in 2015
Workers’ compensation insurance rates are set to drop 5.5 percent in 2015, following a recommendation by the National Council on Compensation Insurance, which annually reviews payments and fees and proposes new premium figures.
Illinois Department of Insurance officials are estimating the latest proposed reduction could result in overall reduction of premiums of up to $143 million in 2015, with savings totaling $450 million since reforms were enacted in 2011.
With the reduction in rates, Illinois will now have the fourth-highest workers’ compensation rate in the country, down from the third- highest in 2011 according to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.
Illinois State Representative Dwight Kay said, “Since I became state representative, I have fought for workers’ comp reform to ensure Illinois remains competitive in business and manufacturing. Although I support this recent reduction, Illinois unfortunately still has one of the highest rates in the country. We must support further workers’ comp reform measures to make Illinois an attractive state for business once again.”
Visit the State Fair in Springfield
The 11-day festival opened at the State Fairgrounds on Thursday, August 7 and runs through Sunday, August 17.
The Illinois State Fair has showcased Illinois farm progress since 1853. The focus has expanded to a wide-ranging celebration of goods grown or made in Illinois. Traditional State Fair attractions include the 500-pound butter cow, the 100-ride carnival midway, and multiple days of live harness horse racing and concerts. Ten days of recognition events honor Illinois veterans, senior citizens, farmers, children, and other groups.
For complete coverage and a schedule of events, visit the Illinois State Fair website.