Monday, September 30, 2013

Everything takes its sweet ol’ time in world of Ill. government operations

In a quarter-century of watching up-close government in operation, the lasting impression I have gained is that nothing is done in a timely fashion.

Relying on government agencies for something (regardless of what level the agency in question is at) ensures you will ultimately get the benefit in question. As far as how quickly, it will come whenever it comes.

PEOPLE WHO ARE capable of doing things on deadline (such as myself) are often the most frustrated with the endless delays – some of which were due to bureaucratic bumbling while others were due to politically-partisan delays.

Sometimes, people who desperately oppose something count delays in its implementation as being a political victory.

Take the whole matter of health care reform – which is in law and which in theory should start showing benefits next year. But Republicans in the House of Representatives (at least the most ideologically-motivated ones) are engaging in any actions they can to cause delays.

Although their blatantly-partisan efforts will be aided by those efforts by the state governments that will encounter their own delays in helping people enroll in the efforts meant to provide some form of health insurance coverage for all.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS reported this weekend that while Illinois expects to eventually have 1,200 workers in place to help people with questions as they decide exactly what health coverage plan best suits their needs, there are only about 100 such workers currently in place who are fully certified.

Considering that the six-month period in which people have to get themselves some sort of health insurance begins Tuesday, it would appear obvious that many people will have to figure out things on their own.

Perhaps the state figures that many of us are inherently procrastinators, and that the need for all those people trained and certified to help on this issue will not be needed until later in the process – perhaps around March when the sign-up period is coming to an end.

Will we get an ugly rush of people by the end of March seeking health insurance; similar to the ugly rush we get every year around April 15 when the masses decide to finally break down and file their income tax returns?

OR WILL THERE be early applicants who will become so frustrated with the lack of help that some may wind up erroneously deciding that those Republican ideologues may have been on to something with all their rhetoric about how health care reform was some sort of messed-up scam?

All I can say at this point is that I hope people are patient as they work their way through the intricacies of – the site that people are supposed to use to sign up for help with health insurance.

But health insurance isn’t the only issue where the state is lagging behind in offering help. Take “concealed carry,” the matter of people being allowed to carry a pistol on their person in public for self-defense.

People wishing to have their firearm holstered (or tucked away in a purse or duffle bag) will have to gain permits from the Illinois State Police, who will require them to complete 16 hours of training from state-approved instructors. The process for applying to take such training will begin Jan 5.

BUT IT SEEMS that thus far, the state police only have 54 instructors approved to offer such training – and most of them are in the more urban six-counties of the Chicago metro area.

Some downstate Illinois counties don’t have any instructor yet, and it’s not clear when they will.

I’m sure from the perspective of the people who wanted to start carrying a pistol in a shoulder-holster the very day that the General Assembly overrode Gov. Pat Quinn’s amendatory veto of the issue, this is an unconscionable delay. Plus the fact that they won’t be able to go to a local office and may have to make a trip to a distant county to get the permit is scandalous to them!

I’m not as offended by that concept, because I realize it can take time to get people into place – just as it will take time to get all those workers certified to help people gain health insurance.

I ONLY HOPE that the delays for both of those groups of people can be resolved in a timely manner – and not with one significantly taking longer to fix than the other.

Because I’d hate to think that sometime in the near future, someone who could not get some sort of health insurance coverage would wind up dying from gunshot wounds inflicted by someone who was too quick on the draw because they thought their personal safety was being threatened!


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