03122019CM0766SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) that would provide relief for independent, rural pharmacies was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker Friday.

Pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, which negotiate drug prices on behalf of insurers, are currently using their position to drive up prices and eliminate competition, putting local pharmacies at a disadvantage.

House Bill 465 includes several provisions that will impose Illinois’ first ever oversight on PBMs, including:

  • Eliminating the gag clause that prevents pharmacists from suggesting lower cost prescriptions to patients;
  • Preventing consumers entering the emergency room from being denied coverage; and
  • Improving pricing transparency and saving state money by requiring the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to approve contracts that impact the state’s Medicaid program.

 “It’s vital for consumers, taxpayers and pharmacies to curtail the PBM abuse which is costing Illinois hundreds of millions of dollars annually,” said Owen Sullivan, who operates Sullivan Drugs in Carlinville. “We’re lucky to have a champion like Sen. Manar who will stand up for the businesses and constituents of Illinois against this corporate greed.”

In some rural communities, artificially high drug prices have caused local pharmacies to close, forcing consumers to travel miles to purchase needed medications.

“PBMs are creating unprofitable environments that make it difficult to sustain business for independent pharmacies, and the result is that we’re seeing these businesses closing all the time in Central Illinois,” said Michelle Dyer, who operates Michelle’s Pharmacy in Carlinville, Gillespie and Bunker Hill. “This is a great step to reign in the abusive powers that PBMs use against independent pharmacies.”

PBMs are largely unregulated and have not been subject to oversight, auditing or transparency laws in Illinois, even though they manage public money through the Medicaid program.

“PBMs line their pockets at the expense of small businesses and consumers who have no choice but to buy lifesaving drugs at exorbitant prices,” Manar said. “For years these middle men have been able to exert their influence on the pharmaceutical industry with essentially no oversight. It’s time to crack down on unfair practices that target some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

House Bill 465 will go into effect January 1, 2020.

Category: Latest News

04122019CM0717SPRINGFIELD – Teachers will see an increase to their minimum salary under a new law sponsored by State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and signed by Gov. JB Pritzker.

“We’re facing a severe teacher shortage in Illinois and increasing their salaries is just one way we can attract and retain qualified teachers in this state,” Manar said. “We need to start taking this problem seriously and this legislation is a good step toward solving it.”

House Bill 2078 will increase the minimum salary for teachers to $40,000 over a four year period.

Illinois had not updated its minimum teacher salary since 1980. Since that time, state statute has mandated that that Illinois school districts pay teachers with a bachelor’s degree a minimum of only $10,000.

 “This is a long-needed change and I’m glad to see that both sides of the aisle came forward to support this legislation,” Manar said. “We’re showing that we value teachers in Illinois and that’s going to go a long way toward attracting qualified teachers in Illinois and convincing young people to consider a career in education.”

Under the measure, the state would update the minimum mandated salary for teachers annually over four years, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. After that, subject to review by the General Assembly, it would be increased according to the Consumer Price Index. The phase-in would look like this under the proposal:

  • $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year;
  • $34,576 for the 2021-2022 school year;
  • $37,076 for the 2022-2023 school year; and
  • $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year;
Category: Latest News

08202019CM0461

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar gathered with community members, veterans groups and the family and friends of Marine Lance Cpl. Charles Heinemeier in Bunker Hill today for a road naming ceremony in honor of the Vietnam veteran.

Earlier this spring, the Illinois General Assembly adopted Manar’s Senate Joint Resolution 9, which designates a stretch of Illinois Highway 159 between Detour Road and Illinois Route 16 in Bunker Hill as the “Lance Cpl. Charles Heinemeier Memorial Highway.”

“It can be far too easy for us to remain so focused on what’s going on in our own busy lives that we forget those who make it possible for us to live them,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat. “The sacrifices made by our veterans are the reason we have the freedoms we so often take for granted. That’s why it’s important for us to do things like we did here today.”

Charles Heinemeier was born in Alton on March 2, 1949 to John and Lela Heinemeier. He graduated from Bunker Hill High School in 1967, where he played basketball and baseball. Following his graduation, he worked in construction at McCann Concrete and the Olin Corporation.

Heinemeier enlisted in the U.S. Marines in May of 1968 and attended his basic training in California. Six months later, he was sent to Vietnam.

He was killed in action on August 21, 1969 while serving with the 1st Marine Division in Quang Nam, Vietnam.

Heinemeier was remembered by his fellow soldiers as having a positive attitude even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

“Your son was our morale booster,” Heinemeier’s commanding office wrote to his mother after his death. “We wouldn’t have made it through without him.”

He was posthumously awarded three Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart.

“Wherever he was, Lance Corporal Heinemeier made a positive impact in the lives of others,” Manar said. “It’s my hope that, by renaming this road, Lance Corporal Heinemeier’s sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

Category: Latest News

02212019CM0229SPRINGFIELD – Unions would have a greater say in issues that affect the wellbeing of workers thanks to legislation sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker Friday.

House Bill 2301 would require state regulatory boards impacting workers in Illinois to include a representative from a recognized labor organization. These board impact the Department of Employment Security, Department of Natural Resources and the Workers' Compensation Commission.

The boards and panels under these state agencies handle issues that directly impact the lives of Illinois workers, such as workers compensation benefits and workplace safety regulations.

“These groups make many of the difficult decisions that can significantly impact the physical and financial well-being of working men and women and their families in our state and it’s only fair that they get an appropriate say in those matters,” Manar said.

Manar introduced the legislation in response to former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s practice of stacking anti-union individuals to these bodies. The measure seeks to create an appropriate balance between interested parties on boards and commissions that impact workers combining both business and labor interests together.

“We’ve seen abuses of this in the past from the previous Governor and unlike specific individuals, labor unions represent the interests of hundreds of thousands of Illinois workers and, for that reason, it’s important that they have a seat at the table,” Manar said. “This change will make the process more inclusive and make these boards and panels more representative of the people of the state as a whole.”

The measure will go into effect January 1, 2020.

Category: Latest News

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