How to deal with the growing cost of Medicaid was a major topic when Governor Pat Quinn's budget director visited southern Illinois.
David Vaught told a group at John A. Logan College Monday that containing the rising cost of Medicaid is one of the three keys to getting the state out of debt along with pension reform and economic growth. But Hamilton County Hospital CEO Randy Dauby says he's concerned about a proposal for lawmakers to change the formula on how hospitals receive payments. He says moving too quickly could cost rural, critical care hospitals like his thousands or even millions of dollars.
Vaught says he understands Dauby's concerns. But he says the state doesn't have the luxury of taking its time to deal with the issue because Medicaid costs are increasing by six percent each year. Vaught says the state must deal with Medicaid and pension costs right away because they're putting the squeeze on other important budget items related to education, human services and more.
State Representative John Bradley was instrumental in getting Vaught to southern Illinois. The chair of the House Revenue Committee says it's important for the governor's staff to meet directly with people in Carterville rather just in Chicago and Springfield. Bradley says one of his main priorities for the spring legislative session is holding the line on spending to help the state pay off more of its backlog of bills which stands at over nine billion dollars.