Friday, July 27, 2012

Atty-General Madigan Announces $10 Million Settlement for Illinois' Medicaid Program

July 27, Chicago—Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced today that Illinois will receive $10 million in a 30-state settlement against McKesson Corporation to resolve allegations that the company inflated pricing data used for setting Medicaid reimbursement rates for a large number of prescription drugs. The inflated data caused the state’s Medicaid program to overpay for those drugs

Reimbursement rates for pharmaceutical drugs dispensed to Illinois Medicaid beneficiaries are set by a standard known as the “Average Wholesale Price” (AWP), which is a benchmark used by most states including Illinois. Illinois alleged that McKesson, one of the largest drug wholesalers in the country, reported inflated AWP pricing data to First Data Bank (FDB), a publisher of drug prices, which meant that many of the AWPs used by Illinois to set reimbursement rates were inflated. 

“This company rigged the drug pricing system to boost its own earnings rather than report those costs fairly and accurately,” Madigan said. “Pricing cases like this one are critical to ensuring that Illinois and federal Medicaid funds are being spent in the interests of the people who need medical care.”

Today’s announcement of the states’ $151 million recovery was preceded by the federal government’s April announcement of a $187 million settlement. As part of both the state and federal agreements, Illinois will recover a total of more than $23 million for the state’s Medicaid program.

The suit against McKesson was filed in the United States District Court in New Jersey. To date, Madigan’s office has recovered more than $57 million from drug manufacturers that were alleged to have reported inflated AWP information to FDB and other publishers of drug prices.
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Statement by GOP House Leader Tom Cross on Special Cmte Decision on Expelling Rep Derrick Smith from IL House

Ever since our members filed a petition to begin a House investigation into the very serious allegations against Rep. Derrick Smith, the Special Investigating Committee and Select Committee on Discipline members, the House Managers and staff have taken their responsibility very seriously and reached the conclusion that Rep. Smith should be expelled from the Illinois House of Representatives.   If the full House takes the committee’s recommendation, this will be only the second time since 1900 that a member has been expelled from the Illinois House.   This has been a truly historic, but necessary investigation and recommendation.  All of the legislators who have been participating in this process should be commended.”

New Law Improves Access to Public Meeting Information in Illinois

WHEATON – July 19, 2012. As part of his ongoing efforts to increase government accountability and transparency, Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to strengthen the Illinois Open Meetings Act. The governor was joined at the ceremony, held in the DuPage County building council chambers, by local legislators and DuPage County Chairman Dan Cronin. Governor Quinn is committed to restoring integrity to Illinois government.

“This law gives the public greater access to information and activities that impact their lives,” Governor Quinn said. “Increasing government openness and accountability from the statewide level to the local level will make Illinois a stronger, more ethical state.”

House Bill 4687, sponsored by Rep. Sandra Pihos (R-Glen Ellyn) and Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), requires public bodies conducting a public meeting to ensure that a copy of the meeting notice and agenda is available to the public for the entire 48 hours preceding the meeting. The measure specifies that public bodies can satisfy this requirement by posting the meeting notice on the Internet. The law also ensures that meeting agendas provide the public with adequate information about the meeting’s actions.

“I applaud Governor Quinn’s ongoing commitment to achieve more openness and greater transparency in Illinois government,” Chairman Cronin said. “By bridging the information gap between government and taxpayers, we make meaningful progress in the effort to restore the trust of our residents and the integrity of state government.”

“This new law will require all entities subject to the Open Meetings Act to provide a certain level of specificity when creating their agendas,” said Rep. Pihos.

"I'm happy we were able to work together in a bipartisan way to close a loophole that didn't serve the public," Sen. Dillard said. "This measure will help the public be better informed about what their local governments are doing."

This legislation was inspired by a court case centered on an Illinois municipality that posted a meeting notice before the meeting but did so in a building that was locked on the weekends and not accessible to the public. This legislation closes that loophole by requiring online posting of meeting agendas that list meeting action items in such cases and which are continuously available. The law takes effect Jan. 1.

Since taking office, Governor Quinn has made improving ethics and increasing government transparency and accountability a top priority. In 2011, the governor signed new laws that hold local governments more accountable by requiring them to provide information such as finances, contracts and non-compliances to County Boards. Governor Quinn also launched Appointments.Illinois.Gov, Accountability.Illinois.Gov and Data.Illinois.Gov to bring more transparency to state appointments, contracts and salary information and public data collected by state and federal agencies.