Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.


Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.

Cook commissioners discuss healthcare, pension change

Thursday, August 16, 2012
Daily Herald
by Jessica Cilella

Each year Cook County spends about $500 million on employee benefits.

Of that money, about $300 million goes toward health care for the county’s 24,000 employees. The rest goes toward their retirement.

A change in that mix, say some county commissioners, could head off a crisis in pension funding without raising taxes or cutting benefits.

In a meeting with the Daily Herald editorial board Wednesday, Bridget Gainer, the 10th District Democrat who heads a panel studying the pension issue, and Republican Tim Schneider, of the 15th District, said a solution could involve evening out the amount of money spent on health care and retirement, with $250 million being spent on each. Employees, in turn, would be expected to pay an extra 1 percent of their pay each year for health care.

The commissioners also are considering a raise in the retirement age and a decrease in the amount of money a retiree receives annually in the cost-of-living adjustment.

Currently, about $14,000 is spent on health care per county employee annually, but workers contribute only $706 to that amount each year, the commissioners said.

Schneider said this is too little to encourage employees to be participants in their own health care.

“They need to buy into wellness for themselves,” he said. “They’ll live longer, they’ll be healthier, there will be less workers’ comp claims.”

He added that he would also like to see more county employees utilizing county health care facilities in hopes that too would lessen costs.

Gainer added, “To spend a billion dollars on a health system and then spend $300 million on employee health care and never try to leverage one for the other seems to be a real missed opportunity.”

The commissioners emphasized that change needs to happen sooner rather than later.

“We don’t want to get to a crisis,” Schnider said, adding that he understands people hate change and that some taxpayers don’t think the problems are real.

The two are hoping to gain the support of the state legislature during the veto session in November, as no pension reform plan can go forward without the legislature’s approval.

In the meantime, Schneider and Gainer said they will continue to spread their ideas and listen to feedback from various civic organizations, county residents and employees.

“I think most people are fair-minded about this,” Gainer said, adding that she felt response to their ideas so far has been positive. “They understand that a job at the hospital or the job at the jail ... they’re important, they’re hard jobs.

“They want people to have a dignified retirement, but they know that we still need to find a way forward that is fair to everybody, taxpayers as well as workers.”

For more information on the plan, visit

Recent Headlines

Preckwinkle looks to claw back some oversight of Cook County Health
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Pace Announces Public Hearings on Proposed North Shore Service Changes
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Special to

Pot taxes in Chicago could be as high as 41% by July as county moves forward with 3% levy
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Wants Sweeping New Authority Over Cook County Health
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Preckwinkle urges businesses to help fight 'cost of segregation'
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Daily Herald

County Finance Committee set to approve $165K settlement in ‘political discrimination’ case
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

More Weed Taxes? New Hospital? What To Watch For At Cook County Board
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Seniors now able to apply for multi-year homeowners property tax break this year
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Owes $79 Million In Unclaimed Property Tax Refunds; Do You Have Money Coming?
Monday, January 13, 2020
CBS Chicago

Lincolnwood OKs sick days for workers but rejects minimum wage
Sunday, January 12, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Cook county Just Housing Ordinance affects associations
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Daily Herald

Cook County debt gets dinged
Friday, January 10, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle Again Calls For Hospitals To Treat More Uninsured
Thursday, January 09, 2020

Cook County Commissioners propose 3 percent cannabis sales tax in wake of legalization
Thursday, January 09, 2020
Daily Northwestern

Co-pay for taxpayers? Ousted Cook County Health CEO in line for ‘rich severance’ of half a million plus
Wednesday, January 08, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

Preckwinkle names new budget director
Wednesday, January 08, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

Cost of dismissing Cook County hospital CEO? More than $600,000, plus a big pension.
Wednesday, January 08, 2020
Chicago Tribune

Why some landlords shouldn't gripe too much about the assessor's new math
Friday, January 03, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business

How will pot roll out in Illinois? Ask Colorado, Washington and other pioneering states
Thursday, January 02, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times

The Fentanyl Overdose Crisis
Wednesday, January 01, 2020
CBS Local Chicago

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.