Syverson, Righter help move hospital assessment program bills through Senate
Sens. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) and Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) added their voices in support of a pair of Senate bills that had to pass together for the federal authorization of $3.5 billion needed to maintain the Illinois Hospital Assessment Program ending in June.
SB1773 and SB1573, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and later approved by the Senate on 53-3 and 56-0 votes, respectively, dictate how hospitals are assessed and taxed in order to receive federal matching funds that are redistributed throughout the hospital system in Illinois.
Before voting on the bills, Syverson thanked Steans for her work on the legislation.
"She just went through a long list of items, but really the credit ... has to be much more to her," he said. "Each one of the points she read off are really complex and affects millions of people; and trying to get this done right has been yeoman’s work that a lot of people have worked on."
"The goal of this from the very beginning was to try to get limited dollars to those individuals who need it in the fairest possible way and I think we have met that ... ," he said. "I think it is a good bill for Illinois and I look forward to voting on it."
The recent concern for safety net hospitals has been riding on the enactment of the two bills, which Rep. Patricia Bellock (R-Hinsdale) has shown grave concern for at several House Appropriations Human Services Committee hearings held regarding the $3.5 billion program.
Righter then spoke to Steans' motion on SB1573.
“...We have already passed the assessment piece; and this has the things in it that are necessary to make sure that it not only gets implemented correctly but as we walk down this six-year path, the assessment envisions that things are done correctly and that we are able to, for the lack of a more elegant term, keep eyes on things," Righter said.
He added the two bills are the product of very long, thorough and deliberate negotiations "by people in both chambers and both sides of the aisle," as well as the Illinois Hospital Association and the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
"A lot of work went into this," Righter said. "It is a great product, and I would urge an 'Aye' vote."