So, what do you do if you are running for the Illinois General Assembly, and there simply aren't frequent enough debates scheduled to engage your opponent on the issues? Well, how about a proxy war by dueling press releases? It seems, anyway, that this is the strategy that Lauren Turelli and her opponent, Dr. Mark Neerhof, have worked out.
Think of Team America as no-man's-land on the 58th District front: one candidate sends me a press release, so we send it to the other side for a response. And respond they do!
As before, since we gladly provide this public service, Team America has the first crack at putting these releases back to back to continue the heated discussion about how to best reform the Illinois Medicaid program.
Here's Turelli's next shot:
TURELLI CHALLENGES OPPONENT TO JUSTIFY
OPPOSITION TO COMMON-SENSE MEDICAID REFORMS
LAKE FOREST – Republican State Representative candidate Lauren Turelli challenged her opponent in the March 20th primary election, Mark Neerhof, to justify why he opposes common-sense reforms to Illinois' Medicaid program that could save Illinois taxpayers over $2 billion per year.
"As the Medicaid rolls skyrocket due to mismanagement and fraud, it's time to implement key reforms to ensure that the Illinois citizens who truly need this assistance are being served, and that taxpayers are not being fleeced," said Turelli. More to the point, Turelli noted that, "my opponent’s refusal to support common-sense reforms that save billions of dollars show he is not the real deal – not a true fiscal conservative."
At a recent candidate forum where Turelli reiterated her support of $2 billion in proposed Medicaid cuts, her opponent said ‘that makes no sense’. Turelli’s proposed reforms will look at all components – providers, patients, managed care, income tests and asset verification – of the broken Medicaid system to achieve significant cost reductions. These reforms and other common-sense measures are estimated to save taxpayers over
$2 billion per year.
"In order to fix Illinois, we need transparency and an end to currying favor with special interest groups. Dr. Neerhof needs to explain why he is opposed to common-sense reforms – a true fiscal conservative will back $2 billion in common-sense cuts", concluded Turelli.
And Neerhof fires back:
Dr. Mark Neerhof Supports Bold Medicaid Reform
Turelli-Quinn Plan Fails to Address Medicaid’s Problems and Worsens Patient Care
Lake Forest, IL 2/21/12- Last week Lauren Turelli, Dr. Mark Neerhof’s Republican Primary campaign opponent came out in support of Liberal Democrat Governor Pat Quinn’s Medicaid plan. Republicans, conservatives, patients and physicians alike have lambasted the Turelli-Quinn plan. The Turelli-Quinn plan worsens the problems of access to care and Illinois’ unpaid bills.
Under the leadership of Governors Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn 20% of Illinoisans are now on Medicaid. Just like Quinn, Lauren’s ideas of reform worsen the problems created by the Blagojevich and Quinn Administrations. Turelli’s comments today claiming that Dr. Mark Neerhof does not support ‘common-sense’ reforms is a foolish accusation from a candidate that does not understand the fundamentals of what Medicaid is and what reform should look like.
Dr. Neerhof has dedicated his career to providing patient care to all patients including those on Medicaid. His plan for Medicaid calls for bold reforms, something that the Turelli- Quinn plan rejects. Medicaid already has 2.5 billion dollars of unpaid bills from last year. This year, Illinois is expected to have in excess of 3 billion dollars in unpaid bills, and the Civic Federation has recently announced that the total of unpaid Medicaid bills is expected to total 21 billion dollars by the end of 2017. Nowhere in the Turelli-Quinn proposal is there a plan for paying off the state’s Medicaid debts. These debts must be paid under law along with the ever-compounding interest the taxpayers owe providers each month, when the state misses payments.
Dr. Mark Neerhof: "Ms. Turelli claims that I am motivated by special interests. She is right. They are called patients. Lauren does not understand what the problems are with Medicaid. She does not work within its confines every day. As a physician, I see the problems in Medicaid and know what must be changed. Unlike Lauren, I do not support the Democrat Governor’s Medicaid plan. Rather, I support bold reform."
Dr. Neerhof’s plan would provide means-based premium assistance to patients in need to assist them in obtaining their own low cost health insurance policies. By doing so, we will provide lower cost, higher quality healthcare to the patients that need it the most.