U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says Illinois should restore its five-percent income tax, in order to avoid having to cut Medicaid.
The state is proposing cutting $1.5 billion from Medicaid, while Congress is looking at $400 billion in cuts over 10 years nationally. Durbin says this will harm children - half the births in Illinois are paid for by Medicaid - and old folks in nursing homes, mostly.
"So when we cut this program, we are endangering, I think, the next generation of people living in this state - half the children, and their mothers - as well as those who are in the most dangerous and perilous circumstances," he said.
Of the cuts, $800 million would be taken from hospitals, and $250 million of that would be from so-called safety net hospitals, which serve areas with high populations of Medicaid beneficiaries
Providers say the cuts will end up proving more costly over time. For example, the elimination of dental care will result in Medicaid recipients not getting dental care, and ultimately turning up in emergency rooms with serious problems.