Quinn Wants To Cut $2 Billion From Medicaid Budget

CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn previewed some tough budget choices Tuesday, saying he wants to cut $2 billion from the state’s Medicaid budget to help solve the state’s fiscal woes.

The Democrat said he wants to tackle restructuring the health care program that covers 2.7 million poor and disabled Illinoisans, but he didn’t provide specifics.

“We want to have better health care and wellness for those who are Medicaid recipients,” he said. “That may mean we step on some of the toes of some of those providers in the system. Some of those sacred cows may have to be challenged.”

Some options for restructuring the system are shrinking payments to hospital and doctors, cutting benefits and reducing how many people are eligible.

Reforming Medicaid won’t be easy, particularly in an election year. Last year, Quinn proposed cutting payment rates for providing care under the Medicaid program, which would have meant a reduction in what state government owes. But state legislators did not approve it.

The state’s Medicaid budget is about $14 billion, which includes federal money. The state contribution is around $8.6 billion.

However, the state has paid some costs out of future budgets, and there has been buildup of late payments. The backlog of unpaid Medicaid bills is expected to reach $1.8 billion by the end of the fiscal year.

Quinn said he also wants to reform public pensions system this year; the state’s five state-employee pension systems are underfunded by about $83 billion.

He said he will look at employer and employee contributions, cost of living adjustments and the retirement age. Previously, he has suggested making local school districts pick up the employers’ portion of teacher retirement benefits.

“If we want to have adequate resources for education and public safety and all the other important things in life, we’re going to have to deal with this very difficult issue,” he said Tuesday as he addressed the City Club of Chicago.

Quinn also said he wants to reform the state’s tax system, which he says has “too many loopholes.” He offered no details.

Quinn will unveil his state budget on Feb. 22 at a time when Illinois’s backlog of unpaid bills is at $9.2 billion and expected to continue growing.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Afro

    why is it that i just boil inside to think that we have 2 more years worth of this ass hole in office?

    After 2 more years we will get another crooked piece of sh!t that we can not stand, I think Tom Sharp is the one always saying term limits, I totally agree and s I think shorter terms to go along with that would help this state a lot. We could actually have a chance to purge these crooked low lifers out of our Government.

    • Bob Hamilton

      Afro, Pat Quinn is the MOST HONEST Governor that there has ever been in any state at any time, past present or future. Beyond honest, he is also an excellent manager and negotiator having to deal with some seriously corrupt “leaders” in the state legislature. Be is also one of the most intelligent men you will ever see in public office and is a real down to earth nice guy. You really owe him an apology.

      • Bill

        I gather you work for him…

  • Border Agent 69

    Cut off all the ILLEGAL immigrants of all the freebies such as food, medical,education etc and this country would have plenty of money every sanctuary state goes broke just look at California

  • Kat

    I agree with Border Agent 69!!!Check out all people on Welfare that Lie and say the father is unknown ,,and there both working and liveing together and collecting welfare!!!!I know about 6 people that are robbing the system!!!Oh yeah what about drug testing them!!!The state would save a Bundle!!! If people have to drug test for there jobs so should they!!!

    • Jim

      Kat is right. It is mostly blacks and browns scamming the system. Cut back on that and the state would be in the black. (pun intended)

      • Jim

        However, truly disabled should not be cut.

  • Paul

    God forbid they take a pay cut in half and eliminate pensions for ALL CIty, State, County and Federal Government elected officials. All they are doing is putting us more in debt and causing more problems for the average person. They are not doing civil service work but civil dis-service work. Talk about thieves, it is all about themselves and what goes in their pockets or to get personal gain.

  • Dominic

    Leave it to Quinn to go after medicaid, instead of the pension fund scam. Between the loser unions and the spineless government, the pension scam will continue. Think about it… after 2.5 years in retirement the retiree has spent all the money that they put into it. After that, their retirement is paid for by the taxpayer. The retiree will make more in retirement that they did their ENTIRE career. Why are they aloud to retire at 55? The rest of us slaves have to work till 67+ so we can pay a retired driver’s ed. or a gym teacher $100K a year in retirement. (Districts 15, 211, 220)

    The public pension is killing Illinois. Worst state and government in the country.

    When will taxpayers wake up?

    Dump: Quinn, Culletrton, Madigan – re elect no one!!!

    Robbery without a gun.

  • Jack

    I’m glad to see that Quinn is going to cut some spending for a change. Democrats usually like to spend more and then raise taxes to pay for it.

    • The real James Hamilton

      Quinn done worse, he gave Tax breaks to Sears hOLODING and CME In Chicago, and now he is using the states poorest individuals to pay for it.


      • Jack

        If those tax breaks weren’t given to CME and Sears, they would have just left the state for a state that would give them the incentives. Then we would have lost the taxes that they do pay, in addition to many lost jobs. Don’t forget, tax breaks are breaks, they still pay taxes, just not as much. Cuts have to be made somewhere, better to start with those who don’t pay into the system, than those of us who do.

      • The real James Hamilton

        Jack that was a bluff and so what if they leave let them go, Only cowards will be held at bay by threats. There are people in this country that do not have work and no means to get health care for their children, or they may not have a health care plan where they work but they pay taxes too and qualify for Medicaid for their children. So don’t give me this story about Medicaid recipients don’t pay taxes, if they own a house they pay, when they buy they pay, when they drive and put tags on a car they pay. The kids on Medicaid can’t help the fact they have no medical insurance but they deserve treatment the same as any one else does.

  • Bill

    Welcome to Illinois. We have the worst credit rating. If we owe you money, you’re stuck. No one can hold us to account. We have underfunded a completely over-bloated pension system by how much? $83 BILLION!! If private industry had underfunded their pension by even 1%, the prosecutors would have wiped out that business. Quinn is a moron. He refuses to accept the fact that the system is robbing us of our potential. He would rather suck up to the union chiefs than to suck up to the hardworking people of Illinois. He’s the most honest? If he is that honest, then I can only say that he is equally stupid.

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