Senator Mulroe on the Senate floorState Senator John G. Mulroe, a Chicago Democrat, co-sponsored legislation to ensure that Illinoisans cannot be denied health insurance coverage because of a pre-existing condition. State law does not currently protect patients from being excluded from insurance coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

“Under current federal law, individuals cannot be denied health insurance coverage based on a pre-existing condition,” Mulroe said. “In light of the federal uncertainty, I believe it is important to ensure that Illinois maintains a policy of covering individuals regardless of pre-existing conditions.”

Nearly half of non-elderly Americans have a pre-existing condition, which includes diseases such as diabetes, cancer, epilepsy and mental health disorders.

Under the proposed federal Republican health care plan, states could vary premiums based on health status in certain scenarios and would not be required to provide insurance coverage for high-risk patients. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this could lead to skyrocketing premiums for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

“Given that the Republicans at the federal level have expanded the list of pre-existing conditions that may not be covered under their proposal, it is important to pass this legislation now to protect Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions,” Mulroe said.

House Bill 2959 garnered bipartisan support. It passed both chambers and will be sent to the governor for approval.

Category: Front Page

Senator Mulroe on the Senate floorWith ongoing negotiations to end Illinois’s historic budget impasse, State Senator John Mulroe has introduced a plan to examine the billions of dollars that the state gives away in tax credits every year.

“Before increasing taxes and burdening the middle class, we must have an honest assessment of our budget priorities and examine every dollar the state is spending,” Mulroe said. “While many of the state’s tax credits benefit important components of our economy, we are facing a fiscal crisis and have to ensure that we create the best deal possible for taxpayers. Every dollar counts.”

Senate Bill 472 eliminates a number of tax exemptions that currently go to large corporations. These tax credits result in nearly $2 billion in lost revenue for the state of Illinois. Mulroe’s plan also caps deductions and credits for Illinoisans who file joint returns with income over $500,000 and ensures that everyone pays their fair share.  

“Due to the pressure that the governor’s $5 billion budget gap has placed on the state, we need to take a fresh look at state spending, including tax credits,” Mulroe said. “If certain tax credits are not meeting their intended goals, then taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to subsidize corporate welfare at a time when social service agencies are closing left and right.”

Mulroe is hoping that by introducing this plan he will spark a robust conversation with his Senate colleagues on how to end the impasse and balance the needs of working families and taxpayers with economic development.

“Through my experience as a CPA, I believe that we must have a modern tax code that reduces the burden on the working class and acknowledges how business is conducted in this day and age with technology advancements that have made it easier to operate a business.”

Category: Front Page

Senator Mulroe speaks at the 10-year anniversary of the Smoke-Free Illinois ActToday marks the 10-year anniversary of the passage of the Smoke-Free Illinois Act, which banned smoking in indoor public areas, workplaces and within 15 feet of the entrance to those facilities. Since then hospitalizations from asthma, heart attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have decreased by 20.5 percent.

“Passing Smoke-Free Illinois was a huge step toward making our state healthier,” Mulroe said. “Though many tobacco-related hospitalizations have been reduced, we still have a lot of work to do. In Illinois, a little over 15 percent of adults smoke, and each year and more than 18,000 Illinois residents die as a result of tobacco use. That’s why I sponsored Senate Bill 3011 last year to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21.”

By increasing the legal age of smoking in Illinois to 21, The National Institute of Medicine estimates that 25 percent fewer youths would start smoking with a 12 percent decrease in general smoking rates.

“Tobacco kills more people than AIDS and car accidents,” Mulroe said. “I think we need to reconsider how young people get started smoking and work to promote healthy choices.”

Category: Front Page

For the past 37 years, Diane Gunaka has operated Sunshine Activity Center, the only afternoon and evening respite care center for developmentally disabled adults on the North Side of Chicago. She has lovingly created a place where developmentally disabled adults could learn to care for themselves, participate in programs and outings, and provide their parents with some respite of their own.

After weathering two years of the budget impasse, though, Sunshine Activity Center may have to close its doors this June after its contract was not renewed. The center is entirely funded by the state and does not receive any federal support.

“The staff at Sunshine Activity Center provides a great service to their clients and families,” State Senator John Mulroe said. “I am always impressed when I visit the center at how well the clients are cared for.”

Senator Mulroe at Sunshine Activity Center for his annual holiday visit.Senator Mulroe at Sunshine Activity Center for his annual holiday visit.For the past eight months, the center has operated without state support. Sunshine Activity Center’s doors have remained open thanks to the generous support of donors, but that money has almost run out. With clientele that are for the most part elderly, and staff members that are stretched thin, the center has found that there are limited opportunities to fundraise.

As a result of budget cuts over the past few years, Sunshine Activity Center has been forced to reduce staff and cut back on programming. While they used to employ seven staff members to care for 25 developmentally disabled adults, they now employ three people and staff has had to double up on duties. They have also had to cut their home living program and limit outings.

“We’re trying to continue it, but I don’t know how long we’ll be able to hang on,” Gunaka said.

Gunaka stated that if Sunshine Activity Center closes, some clients will be left without service while others won’t have care in the evenings.

After 37 years of service, the state decided not to renew Sunshine Activity Center’s contract, citing that the center didn’t meet the respite requirement. Gunaka said that the state limited Sunshine Activity Center to 25 program participants, but then faulted the center for being too small.

The families of Sunshine Activity Center have written to the governor, pleading for support. He has replied with his apologies but with no offer of assistance.

To support Sunshine Activity Center and their efforts to serve developmentally disabled adults on the Northside of Chicago, click here for their GoFundMe page.

Category: Front Page

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