People on WSIU Radio
Thu June 14, 2012
Gov Signs Medicaid Reform Package
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a two-point-seven-billion-dollar Medicaid reform package into law.
Changes include a tax increase on cigarettes and cuts to various coverage in Medicaid services. Quinn says the reforms needed to happen. The package also limits Medicaid recipients to four prescription drugs per month. Medicaid reimbursement payments will also be reduced to hospitals and nursing homes. Also state-funded health coverage will be dropped for more than 25-thousand-working parents starting next month based on new income guidelines.
Meanwhile, advocates for the poor, the disabled and senior citizens are calling Governor Pat Quinn shortsighted for making $1.6 billion in Medicaid cuts. They predict the cuts will make Illinois citizens sicker and cost the state more in the long run. Quinn says the moves are necessary to close a long-term funding gap in the program. David Vinkler of AARP says the elimination of Illinois Cares Rx will hurt thousands of seniors. The program helped pay for medications. It ends July 1. Barbara Otto of Health and Disability Advocates says kicking people off Medicaid will make them sicker and cost more for society. Kathy Chan of the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition says her group is relieved most services for children were preserved but disappointed more than 25,000 working parents will lose state health coverage July 1.