(via Flickr/Jennifer Boriss)

A new report says Missouri's Medicaid costs could rise by 6.6 percent over 10 years if the state fully implements the federal health care law.

But the report also says almost half of that increase will occur even if Missouri does not expand Medicaid eligibility for adults.

The report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Urban Institute says Missouri can expect to spend an additional $1.2 billion from 2013 to 2022 as more people join the Medicaid rolls because of the federal health care law.

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Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder is urging state lawmakers to not create a health insurance exchange or expand Medicaid when they convene for their regular session next year.

In-school health clinic opening at Roosevelt High

Aug 30, 2012
(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

Students at Roosevelt High School in St. Louis can now access medical care through an in-school health clinic.

The clinic is operated by Mercy Hospital and received funding through $500,000 grant from Boeing.

Crystal Gale is the Principal of Roosevelt High.  She says the facility will provide basic medical services for students, as well as the children of students.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Patriot Coal files for bankruptcy protection

St. Louis-based Patriot Coal has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

(Courtesy Missouri Foundation for Health)

A new report by the Missouri Foundation for Health estimates that about two-thirds of Missouri's more than 800,000 uninsured could get health insurance under the federal health care law  - and the county-level data suggest that rural counties will benefit the most.

The analysis uses census data to project how the number of uninsured could change in every county in Missouri under the Affordable Care Act.

File photo

House Speaker Steven Tilley says there is no need for a special session to decide whether Missouri should opt out of a Medicaid expansion.

This story will be updated.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed nearly $1.6 billion worth of cuts to Medicaid into law.

His signature means that nearly 25,000 working parents will lose state-funded health care on July 1. Regular dental care is being eliminated for adults. Those who need eyeglasses will be able to get a new pair once every two years. And patients who take more than four prescription drugs will have to get prior approval from the state.

Quinn this morning also signed a dollar-a-pack increase in the state’s cigarette tax.

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The Illinois House has agreed to raise tobacco taxes as part of a plan to strengthen the state Medicaid program.

The tax increase passed 60-52 Friday. It now goes to the Senate, which has backed similar increases in the past.

It more than doubles the tax on cigarettes, to $1.98 a pack. Other tobacco products would see a similar tax increase.

It also would create a special tax on hospitals that would then be matched by the federal government and returned to the state.

In all, it's supposed to raise $800 million a year for the Medicaid program.

(via Flickr/CarbonNYC)

Updated 5:25 a.m. Friday with final vote information. Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey was used in this story.

Just before 7 p.m. Thursday, the Illinois Senate approved the cuts by a vote of 44-13.

African-American lawmakers continued their opposition to the cuts, saying they fall disproportionately on their constituents.

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Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says the state's Medicaid program will receive about $42,000 from a national legal settlement with Walgreen Co.

The settlement resolves complaints that Walgreen's improperly tried to get people to switch their prescriptions to its pharmacies. The company has agreed to pay civil damages totaling $7.9 million to states and the federal government.

Koster says that from early 2005 to June 2010, Walgreen Co. offered gift cards and gift checks to people who receive government health care to entice them to transfer their prescriptions.

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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.

(via Flickr/JimBowen0306)

Reporting from Amanda Vinicky was used in this story.

Like its counterpart in Missouri, the Illinois General Assembly is heading into the home stretch.

Lawmakers there have a bit more time to get through their agenda - their session isn't scheduled to end until the end of May. But unlike lawmakers in Missouri, Illinois legislators have a monumental task in front of them - passing a state budget.

Most state agencies will have their budget cut by 9 percent.

(via Flickr/Senator Roy Blunt)

Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R) briefly addressed the Missouri House today.

Blunt spent most of his nine-minute speech criticizing government growth and overregulation.  He was especially critical of the federal government’s attempts to regulate family farms.

"We don’t need people in Washington DC deciding what farm kids can do on family farms," Blunt said to applause.  "We don’t need the EPA trying to spend all this time figuring out how you can farm without dust.”

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Gov. Pat Quinn says saving the Illinois Medicaid program will require cutting services, raising cigarette taxes and cutting payments to health-care providers.

Aides to the Democratic governor told The Associated Press on Thursday that Quinn is proposing a cigarette tax increase of $1 per pack. They expect the tax to generate about $337 million, which would then be matched by the federal government.

(via Flickr/Jennifer_Boriss)

Hundreds of thousands of low-income Missourians can begin enrolling in new Medicaid insurance plans Thursday, despite a lingering lawsuit seeking to halt the process.

In a deposition obtained by The Associated Press, state Medicaid director Ian McCaslin said it would create a "nuclear scenario" for the program if a judge grants an injunction blocking the state from implementing its new Medicaid managed care contracts.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield.

Ill. lawmakers have packed agenda when they return to Springfield

State lawmakers in Illinois have about seven weeks left to untangle a host of thorny problems.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

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.

via Flickr | jennlynndesign

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have passed that chamber’s version of the state budget for next year.

The Senate plan is about $86 million smaller than the version passed by the House last month.  Cuts include $13 million from child care provider grants, $7 million from other childcare services, and $1 million from meals at state prisons.  Budget Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) acknowledges that many of the cuts target Medicaid.


State officials: Mo. tightening Medicaid eligibility criteria

Low-income seniors and the disabled can qualify for Medicaid, even if their income is higher than the program's limits. They can do so by making a monthly payment to the state or by spending their excess income on medical bills.

(via Flickr/bgottsab)

An adviser to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says lawmakers would have to choose everything on a list of possible Medicaid cuts to get to the $2.7 billion proposed by the governor.

Among the options on a list prepared by Quinn's administration is a 9 percent reduction in payments to hospitals, doctors and pharmacies.

The list includes changing eligibility rules for nursing homes and at-home help so that some incontinent elderly people who can't prepare their own meals would be denied state-financed care.