State disability advocates worried about new healthcare initiative

Feb 14, 2014

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, and 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 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. 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.