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Senate Democrats restore previous cuts to Medicaid services

trotter0617Short-sighted health care cuts that ultimately put needy people at risk have been reversed thanks to a newly signed law pushed by Illinois Senate Democrats.

For instance, the new law restores Medicaid eligibility for podiatric and dental services, removes limitations on rehabilitative services and gives children with complex needs access to the medicine they need to function and remain comfortable. The new law is a cooperative effort between legislators and nursing homes, along with managed care, hospital and community providers to reach the policy solution known as the Medicare-Medicaid Alignment Initiative (MMAI).

In 2012, the Illinois General Assembly enacted far-reaching Medicaid reforms designed to help alleviate budgetary concerns. However, the consequences of those reforms created hardships for many Illinois residents, and in many cases drove people to see more costly emergency medical care.

Lightford, Bush education laws signed by governor

Bush-LightfordLegislation sponsored by Senator Kimberly Lightford to fund early childhood education and by Senator Melinda Bush to provide teachers incentives for continued training were signed into law Wednesday by the governor.

Sen. Lightford’s House Bill 4440 increases early childhood program funds from 11 to 14 percent in FY2015 and will increase to 20 percent by FY2016 for children ages 0 to 3. Research shows key skills and learning abilities are gained at this age so ISBE grant programs to help develop young learners pay off. The measure takes effect July 1 of this year. Read more about HB4440 here.

Manar passes measure to expand access to emergency epinephrine in schools

epipenOn Wednesday, State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) passed legislation expanding access to emergency epinephrine in Illinois schools to protect children from life-threatening allergic reactions.

Manar’s proposal would expand the law to allow a trained school employee or volunteer to administer an EpiPen to anyone at the school in anaphylactic shock due to an allergic reaction.

Legislature advances Martinez’s expansion of treatment options (VIDEO)

MartinezCannibus053014State Senator Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago 20th) called the passage of her medical cannabis for epilepsy legislation “a victory for children and their families who had run out of hope.” The measure now only needs the governor’s signature to become law and give families the option of administering CBD, a non-hallucinogenic cannabis derivative, to children afflicted with epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

“My colleagues and I have been deeply moved by the plight of these children and their parents, who courageously and tenaciously pursue any option that could bring relief and better health to their kids,” Martinez said. “This legislation will allow these families to stay in Illinois while utilizing a treatment that has helped many suffering from epilepsy and results in few side effects compared to many FDA-approved drugs.”

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