Fri April 13, 2012
Cigarette tax increase on the table in Ill. in search for $2.7B in Medicaid cuts
Illinois lawmakers say a cigarette tax increase is on the table as a bipartisan committee strains to find $2.7 billion in cuts to the Illinois Medicaid program.
Two Republicans and two Democrats are charged with finding a deal. But they're confronting fundamental differences, including disagreement on the cigarette tax.
Democratic Sen. Heather Steans says Gov. Pat Quinn's administration floated a proposal that included $1.3 billion in cuts to Medicaid program spending, a $1 per pack increase in the cigarette tax and rate cuts to health care providers.
Republican Rep. Patti Bellock says she's looking for other ways to cut Medicaid spending. She says she doesn't want a cigarette tax or payment cuts to doctors and hospitals.
Steans and Bellock serve on the Medicaid committee. The group plans to meet again Tuesday.