On Wednesday, July 1, New Roseland Community Hospital CEO Tim Egan testified in front of the Illinois Senate Appropriations Committee and ignited a debate about “Constitutional Mandate – vs – Moral Obligation” as the State of Illinois entered the new fiscal year without a budget.
“Collectively we have a moral obligation,” Egan told the Senators present at the Capitol that morning. “People will die without a budget agreement.”
Egan pleaded with the Senators and asked for an appropriation that would continue to allow the Federal Medicaid funding that will flow into the state in July to be distributed. The current political impasse will prevent the funding to pass through to safety-net hospitals such as Roseland.
During the Q&A, Sen. Donne Trotter (D – 17th) put the issue into perspective with a simple question: “Is the ‘remap’ issue impacting your hospital as far as your bottom line?”
“Gunfire doesn’t recognize political boundaries,” Egan replied.
After Egan’s spirited testimony, the restructuring of the New Roseland received praise from both Democrats and Republicans.
“I appreciate the work that you’re doing in Roseland,” Sen.Â Matt Murphy (R – 27th) said. “It sounds like you made some real strides there and I appreciate your focus on that neighborhood in making it a better place.”
Sen. Trotter added, “And I do applaud you as well because I know that the turnaround under your leadership has happened. Of course with the hard work of your staff, that has really made a quantifiable difference in that community. So I do thank you for that.”
The issue at hand was to secure the Federal Medicaid funding crucial to the survival of the New Roseland and all safety-net hospitals and Sen. Dan Kotowski (D – 28th) explained the situation perfectly.
“We’re not borrowing money, not raising taxes, we’re just giving the appropriation authority because this is money that would flow into the State of Illinois,” Sen. Kotowski said. “Quite frankly, it should be a relatively politically easy vote to take.”
Quickly following his testimony, Egan gave a positive outlook to WFLD TV’s Mike Flannery as the legislature is slated to return next week to again vote on a 1-month budget to keep the state functioning.
“This budget impasse needs to pass,” Egan told Channel #32’s political expert and the entire state. “I am an eternal optimist. I believe everyone will come together and there will be a solution.”
See Egan’s full testimony as presented here.