Legislative plans for reducing Ill. Medicaid expenses unveiled | St. Louis Public Radio

Legislative plans for reducing Ill. Medicaid expenses unveiled

May 21, 2012

Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky reported for this story.

Legislators' initial plans for reducing Illinois' Medicaid expenses have been unveiled - but other controversial aspects of the savings plan have yet to be filed as legislation.

A portion of the estimated savings comes from kicking undeserving recipients off the rolls. 

Illinois would no longer just assume people remain eligible for Medicaid, a practice Senator Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat, says has caused skepticism.

"We've had a lot of concern that people who live outside, Illinois, for example, are taking care of our Medicaid system," Steans said. "We want to make sure that's not happening."

The plan is to hire a private company to annually verify residency and income.

The newly-filed legislation also cuts back on what Illinois covers, including a prescription program for the elderly.

But unlike the concept introduced by Governor Pat Quinn, this would keep adults' emergency dental care and doesn't seek to move anyone to private insurance.

Hospitals who care for Medicaid patients will see their rates sliced by less than 3 percent - a significantly smaller cut than Quinn recommended. And hospitals in rural areas won't get cut at all.

Another part of the package is still being worked out, and relies on a change in the way hospitals and an increase in the cigarette tax.