One local health provider says a stall in the state budget is concerning, but potential cuts to Medicaid in a long-term spending plan are more worrisome.
Southern Illinois Healthcare has a policy of serving every patient. But SIH Chie Financial Officer Mike Kasser says if Medicaid reimbursements continue to fall, that may not always be the case.
"The bigger issue is: when there is a budget and it contains further cuts to Medicaid, that is putting us in a very tough position to continue to serve the neediest patients in the region."
Kasser says there are no plans to cut services yet. But he says a system that requires private insurers to pay more to make up for declining government reimbursement rates is not sustainable.
Kasser says the longer it takes to come up with a plan, the longer his organization may have to wait for payment - and that's already delayed because of the state's backlog of unpaid bills.
"You know, with SIU being the largest employer in the area, and their retirees, we have a lot of people covered by the state. And when they're not paying, it's a real issue because they're paying insurance rates versus Medicaid rates."
He goes on to say that SIH and other providers have been dealing with months-long delays in payment from the state for several years now, so a short-term budget impasse doesn't change their situation much.