September 23, 2015
By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Unions representing Illinois state employees filed a lawsuit Sept. 17 seeking to force Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration to resume paying medical bills for almost 150,000 workers, retirees, and dependents. The governor has cut off payments to the self-insured health-care plans that cover them, claiming that he didn’t have the legal authority to pay them because the state hasn’t yet approved a budget for fiscal 2016.
That violates the employees’ “contractual right to the benefit of health insurance benefits required by [their] contracts,” the suit argues. The unions, who include American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Illinois Nurses Association, the Laborers, and the Teamsters, are asking St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien to order Rauner to restart payments immediately for the self-insured plans, and to require the state to resume monthly premium payments to companies that operate managed care and Medicare Advantage plans, which serve more than 213,000 people. Read more