Senator Mulroe discusses legislation on the floorThe governor recently vetoed  Senate Bill 661, which is a cost-saving measure intended to save lives by requiring doctors to offer  adults born between 1945 and 1965 a one-time screening test  for Hepatitis C. As the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Health, I am perplexed by the reasons given for governor's veto and his unwillingness to reach a compromise or an alternative, other than an outright veto.
 
One of the primary concerns the governor had was that this measure would change a doctor’s standard of care with respect to these patients, but I disagree. The Medical Society, the Centers for Disease Control and every doctor who testified before the Senate Public Health Committee all agreed that doctors should be offering the one-time screening test; however, some doctors are not following their own guidelines. This bill would codify the medical community’s current guidelines and recommendations.
 
I also disagree with the governor’s assertion that this bill will cost the state more money. The offer to screen a patient does not cost a dime. Additionally, if a patient accepted a doctor’s offer to be screened, the current cost of screening is covered by all forms of insurance, including Medicaid. The cost of the screening test is around $10-$20 per test.
 
Prevention and awareness are the reason for this bill. Hepatitis C is a silent killer and offering a screening test is the first step to eradicating it. Even people diagnosed with hep C who can’t get treated with current medication can slow down the effects of the virus by changing their lifestyle. They can also take steps to ensure they don’t spread the virus.
 
While the cost of treating the hep C virus is not the subject of this bill, it is an important discussion that needs to take place. If treated with current medication that can eradicate the virus, the cost is about 10 percent compared to not treating the virus. Illinois’ strict criteria for treating patients on Medicaid means those Medicaid patients within Illinois that are diagnosed with hep C have virtually no access to a cure that is available to the rest of the population covered by private insurers. This is a moral dilemma and this is a policy decision that is in need of a checkup. 

Category: News Releases

032415CM0975 r“If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.” Mark Twain said this, and could just as well have been speaking about the Illinois media covering this week’s work by the General Assembly to negotiate with the governor on a budget.

This week, the Senate and the House both voted on measures to provide one-month funding for core state services to provide more time for negotiations for a full year budget. The governor’s response was that he would veto this offer as he has our full 2016 budget, with the exception of the education budget we sent him which he signed without one Republican voting for that bill.

The media’s coverage of these developments? That we failed to pass anything. This is totally inaccurate. The Senate passed a measure to shield Illinois' most vulnerable residents from the impact of Gov. Rauner's disastrous decision to veto most of the state budget the General Assembly sent to him last month.

Read more ...

Category: Latest

Senator Mulroe on the floor.SPRINGFIELD – Three new proposals covering Hepatitis C screenings, 3D mammograms and updating the way we approach vaccination in the state have passed the Senate. Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) sponsored the plans and acts as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Health.

·    SB54 requires insurance agencies to cover tomosynthesis or 3D mammograms, which are more effective in diagnosing breast cancer due to the cross-sectional nature of the screening. It is also more effective at diagnosing small, hard-to-detect tumors as well as diagnosing through dense breast tissue. 3D mammograms often result in fewer callbacks and an overall less stressful screening experience for women.
·    SB661 requires healthcare providers to offer men and women considered to be at-risk for contracting or carrying Hepatitis C a one-time blood screening. Persons considered to be at-risk are born between 1945 and 1965. The bill does not prevent healthcare providers from offering the screening at any time.
·    SB1410 was drafted as a direct result of the January 2015 measles outbreak. The bill creates protections for individuals who may suffer adverse medical reactions to vaccinations as well as individuals seeking a medical or philosophical exemption. It additionally requires doctors administering exemption paperwork to explain the risks of skipping vaccinations to parents.

“Protecting the health of our state leads to greater productivity and ensures a brighter future,” Mulroe said. “These three measures are in line with that goal, and I implore the governor to keep that in mind as they cross his desk.”

All three proposals move to the governor’s desk.

Category: Showcase

Senator Mulroe speaks to first responder safety on the floor.SPRINGFIELD – Two new proposals have passed the General Assembly that would aid police and firefighters. Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) sponsored both measures in the Senate.

The first, a senate bill, would require that AED machines be accessible in police stations with more than 100 staff. The second, a house bill, would charge individuals who assault first responders acting in the line of their duties with a Class 4 felony rather than a misdemeanor.

“The last thing the men and women we task with protecting us need is to worry any more about their safety than they need to,” Mulroe said. “This pair of plans is common sense and goes a long way to protecting the people in harm’s way.”

Police officers often are placed in intense situations within seconds causing extreme stress on their bodies and health, and Officers have died as a result. The proposal will affect only those facilities with 100 or more employees. Under the original AED Act, county sheriffs and municipal police departments are exempt from civil liability.

Under the previous Criminal Code of 2012, an individual who assaulted a first responder in the line of duty was charged with a Class A misdemeanor provided a weapon was not used. The language in the new proposal states those charges would automatically become a Class 4 felony.  The sentence for a Class 4 felony can carry anywhere from one to three years in prison.

“Every day these men and women work hard to keep our streets safe,” Mulroe said. “With these proposals we are doing more to ensure they stay safe.”

Both proposals move to the governor’s desk.

Category: Showcase

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