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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:08pm
Fri May 6, 2016

Illinois Energy Debate Intensifies After ComEd, Exelon Unveil New Proposal

ComEd and Exelon are proposing a major overhaul of Illinois energy policies under a new plan announced Thursday. Progress Illinois recaps the proposal, which is being met with mixed reaction among interested parties. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:19pm
Fri Jul 17, 2015

Schakowsky: TPP Could Harm Access To Affordable Medicine

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9) is sounding the alarm over the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership's (TPP) potential impacts on affordable prescription drug access.

Schakowsky joined U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT,3) as well as health and consumer advocates on a Friday conference call to highlight leaked intellectual property provisions in the proposed trade deal that could curb access to generic medicines.

One item contained in the TPP's leaked intellectual property chapter would expand the use of "evergreening," a process by which patents are granted for new uses or changes to existing medicines.

Essentially, "evergreening" lets patent holders like pharmaceutical companies "obtain longer periods of exclusivity for just slight changes in existing medications, even if there is no therapeutic benefit," Schakowsky explained, adding that this process "allows monopoly pricing and keeps out competition from generic companies, and drives up prices."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
12:18pm
Tue Sep 2, 2014

Housing Needs Grow For An Aging America; Low-Income Illinoisans Struggle To Find Affordable Rentals

Progress Illinois takes a look at two recently-released housing reports. One highlights the growing housing needs of America's aging population, while the other examines the shortage of affordable rental units available for low-income households at the state and national levels.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
3:33pm
Tue Dec 10, 2013

U.S. Reps. Davis, Roskam Discuss The Future Of Medicare (VIDEO)

As the baby boomers are rapidly aging out of the workforce, the nation’s Medicare program is not financially secure enough to handle the increase in health care beneficiaries, according to a group of panelists who discussed reform proposals for the social safety net Monday night.

“The issue with Medicare is, we need to find more resources and we need to find better ways of delivering care,” said Cheryl Matheis, national senior policy strategist for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). “We need to kind of hit a balance, but nobody has agreed on what the actual balance should be in order to make [the program] sound for the long term.”

Attempting to address what challenges the Medicare program faces and potential solutions for those challenges, Matheis was joined for the panel discussion by U.S. Reps. Peter Roskam (R, IL-6) and Danny K. Davis (D, IL-7), and Richard Baehr, chief political correspondent of the daily conservative online magazine, American Thinker. The Union League Club of Chicago, at which the panel was held, and WLS 890 AM, a broadcast radio station in Chicago, sponsored the event.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:10pm
Tue Oct 22, 2013

Consumer Advocates Want An End To Prescription Drug ‘Pay-For-Delay’ Deals

People in Illinois with various medical conditions have had to fork over 10 times more on average than what’s necessary for at least 20 brand name drugs, according to a report from Illinois PIRG and Community Catalyst.

Costs for these 20 drugs, including Lipitor and Cipro, were kept high, because brand name pharmaceutical companies paid generic makers to keep cheaper versions off the market for a time. These agreements are known as “pay for delay.”

“It’s outrageous that drug companies are paying off the competition to keep prices high,” said Illinois PIRG State Director Brian Imus in a statement. “Because of this, people in Illinois pay inflated drug prices, or go without necessary medication. This needs to stop.”

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