Watch Hamos (Mack the Knife?) on Cable in Chicago and Suburbs and on web; Do Theis and 10th CD Schneider need Hamos, et al to help them win?

HFS Director Julie Hamos: I am going to be a very unpopular person in Springfield because we’re not going to let people have so many choices in the Medicaid program…We’re working in the opposite direction…  How to contain this program. How to contain the Medicaid budget.

Jeff Berkowitz:  But, you have to understand when you try to contain things, when you try to put price controls on things, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, you can-

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Julie Hamos, who was in the IL state house for twelve years before she was selected two years ago by Democratic Governor Quinn to run the 18 billion dollar Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family services, is now being asked by Quinn to cut Illinois’ Medicaid spending in Fiscal 2013 by $ 2 billion.. That’s a lot, you say, about 11%. But, wait, there’s more.  Her $ 18 billion budget includes “only” about 14 billion dollars for Medicaid.  So, that would be about 14% in Medicaid cuts. But, wait, there’s more.  About 2.5 billion dollars of the state’s 14 billion dollar Medicaid budget is untouchable. That means that the Governor is asking Hamos to find almost 18% in cuts from a select portion of the Medicaid budget.  [Watch the show with Hamos here]

So, Director Hamos told us, she has trouble grabbing shut-eye at night, knowing she has to cut about 1 in 5 dollars from the heart of the Medicaid budget. Thus, the nick name for Julie, Mack the Knife, might stick. Who would have thunk it? It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

Take a listen, below, to Julie’s plans to impose utilization controls on drugs and other healthcare services.  Will she read and be guided by Milton Friedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom,” as Director Hamos tries to bring reform as well as cuts to Illinois’ Medicaid system? Should Julie Hamos be guided by basic price theory as she tries to institute reform and cost savings in Illinois Medicaid system?

But, wait, there’s more. Can Hamos defend her endorsement of Mary Jane Theis in light of the accusations of Theis’ primary competitors: Justice Aurelia Pucinski and Justice Joy Cunningham? Did Justice Theis really try to push Justice Cunningham out of the race? Is Mayor Emanuel trying to trade government favors to block financial support for Theis’ opponents: Cunningham and Pucinski?

Can Hamos defend her endorsement of Democrat Brad Schneider in the 10th CD Democratic Primary in light of Brad’s apparent support of Republican Mark Kirk over Democrat Dan Seals in the 2006 general election and in light of Brad’s apparent reluctance to speak out on the issues?

But, wait, there’s even more:  As Berkowitz handed Julie Hamos a “free” copy of one Uncle Milty’s biggest sellers, “Capitalism and Freedom,” did the long time host of Public Affairs really say, “Who Loves you, Baby.” Turn on, tune in and find out.

For the airing times of the special Election Episode of Public Affairs, featuring Julie Hamos, in the City and in the Chicago Metro suburbs,  see below.

You can also watch the show here with Director Julie Hamos 24/7.

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Hamos on cutting utilization of Healthcare Services and drugs by IL Medicaid clients

Julie Hamos: And, if we don’t cut 2 billion dollars, it’s going to get even worse and nobody will pay for it. Nobody will provide services.

Jeff Berkowitz:  So, what’s the answer, how are you going to cut 2 billion [dollars from the 14 billion dollar state Medicaid budget].

Julie Hamos: We’re going to cut eligibility. We’re going to cut services. We’re going to cut utilization. We’re going to impose controls. It does keep me awake at night…we’re going to take waste out of the system.

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Julie Hamos:  But, we are going to impose controls on drug utilization…did you hear what I just said, we are going to impose controls.  We’re going to impose a fixed number of prescriptions that people can have in the Medicaid program.

Jeff Berkowitz: You’re going to impose price controls…

Julie Hamos: No, we’re going to impose [controls on] the number of prescriptions that people can have in the Medicaid program.

Jeff Berkowitz:  Oh and [if they want something] outside that list of drugs, they can’t get it?

Julie Hamos: They will have to pay for it.

Jeff Berkowitz:  And, how are you going to decide what’s within the program and what’s without.

Whose doctor decides which drugs are to be given to Medicaid Patients?  

Julie Hamos: Well, I think doctors should decide that [Ed. Note: But, whose doctor will decide that? The Medicaid patient’s? or, a doctor working for the IL Dept of Healthcare services? Is this the approach embodied in Obamacare? ].  We’re going to push doctors to actually sit down and look at all the scripts. We have 200,000 people who have more than five prescriptions. We need to change that.

Jeff Berkowitz:  See, here’s the problem. I thought you were sort of a free market person, especially for a Democrat. Did I get that right?

Julie Hamos: [Laughing].  Well, I don’t know. What’s your question? In some ways, yes. In some ways, no.

Jeff Berkowitz:  If you want to start getting things right, I mean—where is Milton, excuse me folks for bending out of your [line of sight; Berkowitz reaches for a book].

Capitalism and Freedom

Julie Hamos: Milton?

Jeff Berkowitz:  Here he is, Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, wherever you get the chance [Apply the lessons of this book; Berkowitz reaches for yet another book], we keep getting our props mixed up here.

Julie Hamos: You are not going to show me Ayn Rand, are you?

Freedom to Choose v. the Affluent Society

Jeff Berkowitz:  No, I was looking for [Freedom to Choose], it’s the complement to that [Capitalism and Freedom]…there is nothing more important than these two books….to balance it out a little bit, you could read this [Berkowitz holds up The Affluent Society], from John Kenneth Galbraith, who unlike Friedman, wasn’t really an economist, but he was a social critic. But, the main things is—[Galbraith] was saying society had too many choices—the problem with America, he said, back in the 1950s and 1960s was that we had too many choices—all sorts of brands of soap, all sorts of healthcare, too many choices. These people [Rose and Milton Friedman] “We do not have enough choices,” they said. You should make your program more about choice. You should give people more flexibility. The more constraints, the more regulations, and the more inhibitions you put on folks’ choices, the worse [healthcare] will get and the more expensive it will get. Do you understand that?

Julie Hamos: Actually, Jeff, we are going in the opposite direction.

Jeff Berkowitz:  I know, have you ever read this book? [Berkowitz holds up Capitalism and Freedom].

Julie Hamos: No.

Is there such a thing as a free book for Director Hamos?

Jeff Berkowitz:  I give this book to you. Will you promise to read it?

Julie Hamos: Well, after the legislative session, you can give that to me.

Jeff Berkowitz:  No, it’s important that you read it now.

Julie Hamos: I promise that I will not read it in the next two months.

Justice Greiman: more time to read Milton Friedman?

Jeff Berkowitz:  Here, just dip into it. Give it to Alan [Greiman], he’ll read it.

Julie Hamos: Okay.

Jeff Berkowitz:  Give it to Justice Greiman…But, seriously, you’ve got to give people more choices. That’s the point.

Julie Hamos: Um, um.

Free to Choose in the 10th CD Democratic Primary

Jeff Berkowitz:  Look, you exercised choice when you picked Brad Schneider [to be the 10th Cong. District Democratic Party nominee] and that’s fine. That’s the other part of Capitalism and Freedom. They are two sides of the same coin…Let freedom ring, Let people pick Brad Schneider, let people pick John Tree, let people pick Ilya Sheyman, let people pick Vivek Bavda, let them choose… [ED. Note: That’s political the competition, which is similar to economic competition,  in the 10th CD Democratic Primary where four candidates are vying for the right to take on Republican freshman incumbent Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth, 10th CD)]

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Is containment the way to go in reforming Medicaid?

Julie Hamos: I am going to be a very unpopular person in Springfield because we’re not going to let people have so many choices in the Medicaid program…We’re working in the opposite direction…  How to contain this program. How to contain the Medicaid budget.

Jeff Berkowitz:  But, you have to understand when you try to contain things, when you try to put price controls on things, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, you can-

Julie Hamos: We’re not talking about price controls, but utilization controls

Jeff Berkowitz:  Yes, but the more you constrain things, the less individual choice [the less competition there is] and the less the maximization of consumer or patient welfare.

Julie Hamos: We are going to implement utilization controls because right now, it’s too big of a…

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From Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz, taped on March 11, 2012 and airing in special election shows in 34 select Chicago Metro Suburbs on Friday evening and Monday evening [See below] and in the City of Chicago on Friday, Saturday and Monday,  [See below, for airing schedule details].  You can also watch the program 24/7 here:

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Airing schedule time slots for Special Election edition of Public Affairs, featuring Director Hamos

In the City of Chicago

The above discussed special election episode of “Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz” featuring Julie Hamos, IL Dept. of Healthcare and Family Services Director,

airs throughout the City of Chicago in special time slots:

This morning {Friday) at 11:30 am on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV]

Tomorrow afternoon (Saturday) at 5:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 and on

Monday evening at 10:30 pm on Cable Ch. 19

And airs tonight at 6:30 pm on Cable Ch. 19

In Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods and Winnetka.

And airs tonight at 7:00 pm:

On Comcast Cable Ch. 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, parts of Inverness, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette.

and on Comcast Cable Ch. 35 in Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling.

The “Public Affairs” show, featuring Director Julie Hamos also airs next week on Monday and Thursday. at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Ch. 19

in Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods and Winnetka.

You can also watch the show here with Director Julie Hamos 24/7.

 

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