The [Friday] Papers
"A little-noticed tax break for investor-owned hospitals that was tucked into a deal last spring aimed at saving the Illinois Medicaid program from collapse will cost the cash-strapped state at least $10 million a year in lost revenue, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.
"Hospital industry officials say the tax credit recognizes the free care they provide to the uninsured. But some state officials were puzzled about how for-profit hospitals were able to land a major tax break in the intense closed-door negotiations at a time when Springfield was grappling with a dire financial crisis."
Let me guess: The lobbyist did it in an anteroom with a Madigan.
"Highly involved in crafting the deal and seeing it through was A.J. Wilhelmi, who left the Illinois Senate in February to take a leadership post with the Illinois Hospital Association, the hospital lobbying group. His name is still listed as a legislative sponsor of the bill that included the tax break."
So it was a going-away gift from Madigan (D-Chicago) and Wilhelmi's direct supervisor, state senate president John Cullerton (D-Chicago). Couldn't we have all just pitched in for a watch?
And it turns out the tax break wasn't secret to the state's highest-ranking official.
"When Quinn signed the bill, he said he hoped it would result in more charity care. The tax credit, the governor hoped, would be an incentive for hospitals to do more for the poor."
Maybe that's the way it works on Pat's home planet, but it certainly doesn't work that way here.
"Wilhelmi was active in the local Democratic Party when in college and law school. Between 1998 and 2004, he actively supported his brother Steve in his campaigns.
"Wilhelmi was Senator Dick Durbin's campaign coordinator for Will County in 2002. In 2008, Wilhelmi supported Obama's campaign for President of the United States.
"He served in the Illinois Senate from 2005 to 2012. He was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Agriculture & Conservation Committee, and served on the Transportation, Gaming and Criminal Law Committees."
"An attorney, Wilhelmi has worked with Murer Consultants, which handles health care issues."
Back to AP:
"Margaret Storey represents parents of medically fragile children who are fighting a $15 million reduction to part of the Medicaid program that helps them. Coincidentally that cut equals the hospital association's cost estimate for the tax credit.
"To know that tax credits were being given away at the same time these children's future with their families is being put at risk is just appalling," Storey said. "It makes you lose a little faith in your government when those kinds of deals get cut."
Don't lose faith, Margaret. Drive those kids to a for-profit hospital today now that they've been incentivized to help. Just say the governor sent you.
Oppo research: Done!
"Adam had been approached by 'prominent individuals and an organization,' about his potential candidacy, said a source."
Yes, but they don't even live here.
"The post-election plea bargaining was galling enough to Sandi Jackson's sisters in the City Council. Even more upsetting was the public humiliation that Sandi Jackson is enduring once again because of her husband's alleged philandering."
Oh wah! Sandi's made nearly $450,000 since 2002 from her husband's campaign fund as a consultant. That's 11 Rolexes! Plus, she apparently got her home redecorated.
And her public humiliation? She's the one calling the shots. None of this is news to her.
"You fooled us all," Ald. Carrie Austin said, "including your wife. We respected you were ill. [We said,] `Let the man heal.' And then, you come out with this poppycock? I'm angry that you would wait until the day after the election that you won handily with the support of all of us. Nobody came against you. Then, you come out the next day working out a deal? We'll deal your butt out of the Congress. Get somebody in there who's gonna be honest with us and work on our behalf. Maybe, it should be Sandi."
Memo to Austin: It wasn't Junior who waited until the day after the election to reveal that a plea bargain was in the works. It was a source who leaked it to Sneed - and that source is almost certainly tied to Sandi. She's the one who has misled everybody for months.
"On Thursday, Sandi Jackson stayed away from a City Council meeting, avoiding reporters waiting to ambush her."
Because ambush is how you would characterize reporters at City Hall hoping to ask long unanswered questions of a public official managing a long chain of lies, misdirection and obfuscation regarding another public official whom she happens to not only draw a paycheck from but be married to. Why won't they just leave her alone?!
Besides, Sandi misses so many council meetings it's wrong to assume her husband's problems have anything to do with her absence. How would we know the difference?
Meanwhile . . .
"CBS 2 has learned U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. planned to step down weeks ago, ostensibly for mental health reasons, but a legal source said he talked Jackson and his wife, Sandi, out of that decision to resign before the election.
"CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports the source - a longtime adviser who was involved in those discussions - said part of the reason Jackson reconsidered stepping down was the prospect of losing his federal health insurance just when he needed it most."
Well, he can't be denied a new policy because of a pre-existing condition anymore thanks to Obamacare, so . . .
There's also the pre-existing condition of his constituents to consider. But who has time to think about that when you're busy dodging reporters, the feds and the repo man?
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The Beachwood Tip Line: This side up.
Posted on November 9, 2012
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