Friday, April 09, 2010

Hamos to head DHFS and session preview

Gov. Pat Quinn named Rep. Julie Hamos, a Wilmette Democrat, to head the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Hamos will replace former director Barry Maram, appointed by former Gov. Rod Balgojevich in 2003, who resigned last week.

Hamos has served in the House since 1999, where she has focused on healthcare and social service issues. She lost her bid for Congress in the Democratic primary last February.

“I want to make sure we have a person in that department like Julie Hamos, who really cares for families, cares about healthcare understands it’s important that we work with Washington, the federal government, all the time,” Quinn said at a Chicago press conference.

Quinn added that communication with the feds will be even more important now that President Barack Obama signed national health care reform into law. Hamos said she is eager to implement the changes in Illinois.

“This is an exciting time in the nation's history when we have an opportunity to really make a difference in peoples' lives. With the national health care reform now the law of the land, we will showcase Illinois as the place where we will get it right, and I am excited about building the system from scratch,” Hamos said in Chicago.

She also said that she is open to Republican suggestions for Medicaid reform, such as moving some patients to managed care programs.

Next Week

A Senate committee will take up several redistricting plans tomorrow evening. So check back for an update.

A hearing on a possible revamp of telecommunications regulation is scheduled for Tuesday.

Quinn said budget talks with legislators would begin next week. “It’s time to step on the gas pedal,” he said in regards to the budget.

Adjournment is scheduled for the relatively early date of May 2, and lawmakers will be motivated to hit the campaign trail for the November general election. So once the legislature returns from spring break next week, they should be moving bills and budget negotiations along at a pretty quick pace. Check here for updates and analysis.

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