The state agency responsible for licensing doctors - and disciplining bad ones - says budget shortfalls forced it to lay off 18 of its 26 investigators.
They'd be hired back under a measure before the Illinois House that raises fees on physicians. Doctors would pay $750 every three years, instead of the $350 they pay now.
Head of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Manuel Flores says Illinois last raised licensing fees on doctors in 1987.
"And we want to make sure that we have the resources in place that we can expedite licenses, that we can do a better job of investigating and disciplining doctors who unfortunately breach the trust of our community and that we are responsibly administering the Medical Practice Act."
Supporters say Illinois has to hurry. House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie says a February 20th deadline is looming for medical school students applying to work as residents in hospitals.
"The concern is that if we're not able to tell these young people that we can't get them a license in time to being a residency in July of 2013 they're not going to choose Illinois and our hospitals are not going to be in a position to provide those individuals with education and training, nor those patients in those hospitals with adequate levels of care."
But while the state association representing doctors agrees license fees should go up ... the Medical Society's Jim Tierney calls this hike "excessive." Republican legislators sided with doctors, and oppose the measure.