Ill. House Passes $1.6 Billion In Medicaid Cuts, New Cigarette Tax To Help Close Budget Gap
Illinois House lawmakers approved $1.6 billion in Medicaid cuts and a new $1 per pack cigarette tax Friday to help plug one of the nation's biggest budget holes. The bill would help fill the gap by reducing eligibility and lowering provider payments.
Chicago Tribune: Medicaid Cuts Threaten Nursing Home Reforms, Advocates Say
The $1.6 billion in Medicaid cuts passed by [Illinois] state lawmakers angered a key legislator and some advocates who contend the legislation will undercut nursing home reforms enacted two years ago and delay improved care in the facilities. But state officials said the 2010 reforms remain intact and added that they are pressing forward on measures to reduce violence and lift the quality of care for indigent patients (Jackson and Marx, 5/28).
Reuters: Clock Ticking On Illinois Medicaid, Pension Reforms
Facing a May 31 deadline, the Illinois General Assembly on Friday raced to pass legislation to stop the state from sinking under pension and Medicaid payments, which account for 39 percent of general fund spending. The Democratic-controlled legislature on Thursday sent Governor Pat Quinn a bill that would slice spending on Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program for the poor, by $1.6 billion by reducing eligibility and provider rates and cutting or eliminating programs (5/25).
The Wall Street Journal: $1.6 Billion Budget Cut Passed For Illinois Gap
Illinois is taking steps toward plugging one of the nation's worst fiscal gaps, with state lawmakers passing deep cuts to Medicaid and considering a tax increase for cigarettes to cover a $2.7 billion shortfall in the state and federal health program for the needy, disabled and elderly. The Democrat-controlled legislature passed $1.6 billion in cuts, including eliminating prescription-drug assistance for 180,000 senior citizens. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, plans to sign the bill. ... The country's fifth-largest state has struggled with economic weakness, mismanagement and corruption that have earned it one of the nation's worst credit ratings (Nicas and Peters, 5/25).
Chicago Sun-Times: State House Votes To Add $1 To Pack Of Cigarettes To Help Medicaid
Another major reform to the state’s Medicaid program fell into place for Springfield lawmakers Friday with House passage of a $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase to help plug a $2.7 billion hole in the state’s health-care program for the poor. The bill needed 60 votes to advance through the chamber and just reached that number, passing by a tally of 60-52. It now moves to the Senate, which passed a $1-a-pack cigarette tax hike in 2009 (McKinney and Maloney, 5/25).
Modern Healthcare: Legislation On Tax Exemption Clears Illinois House
The Illinois House approved new legislation today that attempts to better define what makes a not-for-profit hospital eligible for a property-tax exemption. The legislation, introduced today, is an amendment to a larger tax bill brought to the state Senate in February. The bill also includes provisions for the $1 per pack of cigarette tax first floated last month by Gov. Patrick Quinn as a solution to generate $700 million for the state's sputtering Medicaid program (Selvam, 5/25).
Chicago Tribune: Tinley Mental Health Center Closing Plan Needs More Funds, Advocates Say
Just five weeks before the scheduled closing of the Tinley Park Mental Health Center, service providers and advocates say the transition plan comes with too little funding to safely serve residents of the south suburbs. Gov. Pat Quinn announced the closing this year as part of a "rebalancing plan" that will transition those with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities out of institutions and into community-based settings. The center has also been lumped into the governor's cost-cutting plan to close and consolidate state facilities (Rueff, 5/27).