041014 js 1207SPRINGFIELD – Professionals in Illinois who break the rules of their licenses could face steeper penalties. The Illinois Senate approved a plan giving regulators more flexibility when disciplining severe breaches of professional conduct.

Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) sponsored the plan following a court case where a doctor was only given a 6-month suspension after having sex with and giving alcohol and marijuana to a 20 year-old patient.

“This will lead to appropriate discipline for egregious actions. Professionals in Illinois are held to a high standard. If you break the rules and the public trust you should face the consequences,” Haine said.

In the court case, Kafin v. IDFPR, the court overturned an Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation attempt to strip the doctor’s license. The plan passed by the Senate strengthens the department’s ability to enforce its existing rules.

The department handles professional certification and licensing. It regulates jobs ranging from locksmiths to barbers and doctors to pawnshop managers.

The plan, Senate Bill 232, passed the Senate by a 57-0 vote on Thursday, and it now moves to the House for approval.

Category: News Releases

050714CM0426SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) introduced a plan last week creating protections against a new type of health insurance fraud caused by the Affordable Care Act.

Under the ACA, a person who is not covered by a group insurance plan can apply for and receive health insurance from multiple companies. If that person then gets medical treatment, the hospital bills all of the insurers and each company is required to cover the cost of the treatment. The hospital – having received too much money for the treatment – then gives the extra money to the individual.

The plan allows health insurance companies that all cover the same person to coordinate with each other on how medical expenses are handled.

“People could abuse the system because of changes from the Affordable Care Act. We are preventing fraud and reducing the costly waste associated with this type of abuse,” Haine said.

The proposal is supported by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Department of Insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield and several other insurance providers.

"It's imperative that we continue to keep healthcare costs low for the business community and consumers. This bill prevents an unnecessary increase in costs as a result of a fraud on the system," said Jennifer Hammer, executive director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Healthcare Council.

The plan is contained in an amendment to House Bill 3784. The Senate’s Insurance Committee will hear the amendment during a meeting on Wednesday.

For additional information from the Chamber of Commerce:
     Jennifer Hammer 217-522-5512
     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
     Associate Vice President and Legal Counsel, Government Affairs
     Executive Director, Healthcare Council
     Illinois Chamber of Commerce

Category: News Releases

040914cm1049“Many people put their money and their trust in benefit societies; we are backing up this trust with the power of the law.”  – State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton)

SPRINGFIELD – People who join fraternal benefit societies for life insurance will have greater protection under a new plan that was approved by the Illinois Senate without opposition, Thursday.

“Many people put their money and their trust in benefit societies; we are backing up this trust with the power of the law,” said State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton), the plan’s sponsor.

Fraternal benefit societies – or mutual benefit societies – are non-profit organizations that use members’ premium payments to issue insurance coverage for their members and to advance charitable missions.

The proposal, Senate Bill 646, better regulates the leadership structures of these societies and allows early state intervention in the affairs of struggling organizations.

The new rules also allow underperforming societies to transfer members to other benefit societies to avoid insolvency.

The plan is supported by American Fraternal Alliance a trade group representing these organizations.

“Senate Bill 646 arms the Department of Insurance with the regulatory powers needed to help ensure the fiscal solvency of fraternal societies,” said Andrew Boron, Director of the Department of Insurance. “We will continue to do everything in our power to make certain that consumers buying these products receive the benefits they were promised.”

“More than a half million Illinois consumers rely on fraternals for their families' financial security and millions more rely on their financial support and community outreach. These rules provide consumers an added layer of protection and ensure fraternals can fulfill their unique community-service mission," said Joseph Annotti, President and CEO of the AFA.

The plan now moves to the House.

Category: News Releases

020514 CM 0496csSPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn outlined his 2015 budget to lawmakers Wednesday. In it he called for extending the current 5 percent income tax rate that was set to expire next year.

State Senator William Haine (D-Alton) reacted to his proposals.

“The governor outlined a grim financial reality. We need a responsible answer to avoid firing police, closing jails and releasing inmates, but we shouldn’t blindly react and immediately turn to a tax increase as the solution,” Haine said.

“When people talk about billions of dollars, it’s easy for the conversation to become abstract. As lawmakers, we need to always remember how real and absolute the impact of this budget will be on everyday people’s lives,” Haine said.

Category: News Releases

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