HEADLINES : Illinois
Illinois Medicaid cuts fall short of projected savings
Savings from cuts to the Illinois Medicaid program have fallen short by $464 million, about 30 percent of the expected $1.6 billion in projected savings that Gov. Pat Quinn pushed for last year. In the first public report on how cuts to the health care safety-net program are being carried out, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos detailed the actual savings of cost-cutting measures so far.
Repairing a long-term deficit in the Medicaid program was a top legislative priority for Quinn. Last June, the Chicago Democrat signed a multilayered package of cuts and taxes, known as the SMART Act, including a cigarette-tax increase of $1 per pack. Some cuts have gone as planned, such as dropping Medicaid coverage for thousands of working parents and eliminating coverage of dental care and visits to chiropractors for adults. Hamos said that it takes time to implement a large effort to check the eligibility of 2.7 million Medicaid recipients. Her new estimate for savings from the eligibility crackdown is $150 million for this year.
Another obstacle to achieving all the projected cuts: The federal government denied permission to carry out some planned cuts that would have changed the way people are deemed to be eligible for nursing home care, preventing savings of several million dollars.