Illinois Senator Calls for Veto Override of Bill to Reduce Medicaid Backlog

Aug 24, 2018

Governor Bruce Rauner wants changes made to a bill meant to reduce the state’s backlog of Medicaid applications.

State Senator Scott Bennett wants an override of the governor’s amendatory veto in the fall.

Many Illinois nursing homes endure long waits for the state to process Medicaid applications, while they shoulder expenses for residents who have used up their own money. 

Bennett, a Champaign Democrat, co-sponsored a bill that would start Medicaid payments to long-term care recipients immediately on a provisional basis.

“You know, if you meet these certain parameters, we’re going to presume you’re eligible. And then there’s going to be a step-by-step checklist of documents required. Meaning that once you turn this thing in, we’ve crossed that off, we’ve gone to the next thing. And we can determine if that person’s eligible for Medicaid or not.”

The bill passed the Legislature unanimously, but Governor Rauner used his amendatory veto to place limits on it, saying it would create unnecessary expenses.

But Bennett claims the governor’s amendatory veto conceals an ulterior motive.

“Frankly, it appears to me that the governor’s trying not to pay these Medicaid bills, so we can use other money to pay other things. And all you’re basically doing is robbing Peter to pay Paul, and making the state look like it’s in a better footing under the governor’s watch than it is.”

Lawmakers also passed two other bills aimed at streamlining red tape surrounding the Medicaid application process. Governor Rauner signed those bills and says those should be enough to help the state catch up on its application backlog.