House Cuts Medicaid, But What's Next? - NBC Chicago
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House Cuts Medicaid, But What's Next?



    Update: House Minority Leader Tom Cross says he now believes that the cigarette tax hike will pass.

    Illinois lawmakers Thursday agreed to fulfill one request by Governor Pat Quinn to help fix medicaid. The Illinois house voted to cut $1.6 billion from Medicaid, putting thousands of Illinois poor in jeopardy of losing health coverage, scores of seniors at risk of losing drug discounts in favor of fiscal recovery and a host of adults who depend on Medicaid for dental care on notice. 

    Now the big question is: will the legislators give Gov. Pat Quinn the rest of what he wants?  

    The big IF is a hike in the cigarette tax hike. The governor is looking for a $1-a-pack increase to help close a $2.7 billion dollar gap in Medicaid funding.

    Other savings include:
            $350 million saved through better screening of those who deserve Medicaid coverage
            $50 million reducing those eligible for Family Care
            $72 million eliminating Illinois Care Rx.
    Opponents say the cuts will cause suffering for some of the 2.7 million Illinoisans on Medicaid.  
    State Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, said that she was "begging" for the legislature to try another route. 
    House Minority Leader Tom Cross said because of the cuts it is likely that cigarette tax will not pass.  Cross had said without deep cuts it would be difficult to find Republican support for any tax hike.