Quinn Set To Announce Major Cuts To Medicaid

Updated 02/20/12 – 6:12 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn said Monday that he plans to call for significant cuts to Medicaid funding as part of his effort to slash the state budget to spending levels lower than fiscal year 2008.

As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, the governor’s budget plan will call for across-the-board spending cuts and a lot more.

When Quinn presents his budget address in Springfield on Wednesday, he will ask all of the state’s constitutional officers and most state agencies to cut their budgets by at least 9 percent.

State department heads have agreed to those cuts, but the governor can’t really control what Illinois’ other elected statewide officials, such as the Secretary of State and State Treasurer, have planned for their own budgets.

But among the cuts Quinn has planned for the Illinois budget, sources said he is targeting a major, controversial prison for shutdown.

He said, in the past, governors and lawmakers have failed to address problems with the state’s pension and Medicaid systems, allowing costs to skyrocket.

“My job is the repairman. I’m here to resolve these difficulties, and move our state forward,” Quinn said Monday.

The governor said, in essence, that tough times will require tough measures. He said he won’t have any problem getting department heads to make the requested cuts and he hopes constitutional officers follow suit.

“It starts with the governor. We’re cutting our budget 9 percent or more. Our lieutenant governor’s doing the same, and we’re gonna be asking all the constitutional officers to follow that,” Quinn said.

Quinn’s proposed cuts will require closing prisons and mental health facilities.

In addition, Wednesday’s Budget address will propose cuts of $2.8 billion, or 20 percent in Medicaid spending; by reducing both payments to providers, and coverage for recipients. It would be a big hit to hospitals, pharmacies and doctors who are already owed countless millions from the state.

It will also call for a thorough review of the state’s tax code, which Quinn has said “has more loopholes than Swiss cheese.”

Sources said the governor will meet Tuesday with other elected statewide officials to lay out his proposed cuts and implore them to do the same.

Reaction on Monday was lukewarm, ranging from a spokesman for Democratic Secretary of State Jesse White saying, “We’ll do the best we can,” to Republican State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s non-committal, “I’m not even sure the request has been made.”

Topinka and the others also will be briefed on other cuts, including what sources said could be the closure of a major, controversial prison. That could only be the state’s half-filled supermax prison, Tamms Correctional Center, at the southernmost tip of Illinois.

Well-documented as the state’s least cost efficient prison, running Tamms costs $26 million dollars a year, with a capacity of 753 inmates, and a current population of only 408.

More details are expected to emerge Tuesday during a series of briefings for those elected officials and legislative leaders.

  • Jim

    It’s about time that cuts to spending are implemented. Keep up the cuts, it’s the only road to fixing the economy!

  • Border Agent 69

    Quinn just cut off anybody that isn’t a citizen we will save billions.

    • Roberta Waker

      Absolutely correct. We spend BILLIONS to support ILLEGALS in this state and we should cut them off once and for all. These freeloaders are primarily responsible for this state being almost bankrupt; but we refuse to do anything about them. Deport them; it’s cheaper than supporting them. Duhhhh.

  • Wolf

    Why Medicaid when there is such over staffing and over compensation…there is a 40% plus over staffing in the entire public sector, there is a 30% plus over compensation and the millionaire pensions is pure fraud on the taxpayers…but again the crooks will not cut their bread even though it is pure fraud…

  • Afro

    Quinn you’re a gawdam idiot, 225 million in tax breaks for the next ten years to Corps. Cut from the poorest of the poor, I can understand cuts but not while giving to the rich and all you do is spend the cuts in other places like the 50 million scholarship fund we can not afford. You sir are the biggest money money mishandling fool in this state.

  • overtaxed

    Did not see anything about cutting his own pay or the pensions of the politicians….How about welfare? putting a limit on how long you can get that “free” money……

    • citizenintheknow

      Actually there is a limit on the amount of time one can receive CASH benefits from the Welfare system. President Clinton signed into law that a person can only receive CASH benefits for a maximum of 2yrs in their lifetime. The 2yrs does not have to be consecutive, but the max is 2yrs. Food stamp benefits there is no max limit because everyone needs food to survive, but LINK cannot pay the rent. It is much harder to make a “career” of living on Welfare because of the max limit on CASH benefits.

      • Lyndia

        Ten years ago, the limit was 5 years. I admit, things may have changed. the people that say or think there are welfare queens out there is just plain stupid or they do not know the new rules. Clinton called it welfare reform.

      • Mark

        You are right and wrong. They can still get housing subsidies and utility subsidies that don’t have a limit. welfare reform made things worse because these people get jobs, but don’t pay taxes on it because of the earned income tax credit.

    • Jim

      The smartest thing that can be done in regards to welfare is to require birth control implants to be eligible, a time limit on receiving free money,and regular drug testing. People should no longer be allowed to make welfare a lifetime career!!!

  • RealityConfuses

    Remember last Fall when the teachers union marched on Springfield. There is a good portion of your waste! The Tolls that were almost doubled will be directed towards more wastefull spending, with very little left for the roads.

  • Nancy

    Until Illinois does something to discourage illegal immigration rushing into the state there is no way they can hope to control medicaid cost… There is only one thing the middle class of Illinois can do to survive, LEAVE as fast as you can!!!

  • Edward Louis

    This is sad, and perhaps Medicaid would not be in the predictament it is in if you quit providing free medical services to illegals. They (illegals) are ruining our cities, towns, villages and state and taking advantage of ALL government programs. Our top priority should be poor, underemployed, unemployed and senior citizens.

  • Chivi

    Too many people were hired to fill out a piece of paper. Too many people were hired when the economy had good credit. Yes CREDIT!! Get rid of the extra weight!! Why do you have 8 people doing the work that one person can do? Sounds ridiculous!! Go to the goverment agencies and see how long it takes for you to get something done between the City employees’ chit chats and breaks. The untouchables I used to call them. I have had some threaten me with “I work for the City you know” Instead of the “City that Works” it should be called the “CITY THAT SNORES”….

  • franz


    He has no intention of cutting anything-his strategy is to put out these drastic measures with the end game in mind to borrow more money.

    His next move when all the places that are getting cut hit the media with all the sad stories he is A) Going to blame the politicians that didn’t go along with his previous ideas and…B) Say the only way out is to borrow more

    This spineless wimp isn’t going to cut any spending!

  • Dork

    Illegals and people that are professional welfare recepients should not get medicade. It is time to make these people realise that there is no more free ride. . The state should also give drug tests to all welfare recepients, including food stamps.

  • tom johnson


  • Wanda

    Wow, the amount of blatant racism and bigoted remarks here prove that the talking points work. The average medicaid recipient is not some lazy person who wants to make welfare a career. The average medicare recipient is a CHILD. People use the social safety net because they need to not because they want to. Drug testing costs money and recent reports have proven that in states that require drug tests before people can receive benefits, including unemployment were less than in the general population. I pray you never have to use these benefits but if you do you will realize you do not have “the good life” on public assistance. Oh and to the cutting of agencies… If we close some of these agencies what happens to the people they serve? People get laid off and go on unemployment. We cannot cut our way out of this mess. We need to invest and build, not slash and burn.

    • Jack

      You are wrong. illegals and mostly blacks scam the system with their kids. Social services could be cut. It’s the taxpayers that we should be concerned about. Peop[le with disablilties shoudl qualify. Otherwise, it should be cut.

    • Roberta Waker

      If you don’t pass the drug test, you get cut off and pay for it. If you pass; you continue with aid and WE will pay for it. Seems fair enough to me.

    • Jim

      @Wanda, There has been very little reference to race here, with the exception of the obvious illegal Mexican problem. It seems to me that you have thrown in the race card yourself. The assumption that the majority of career welfare receipients are black, while probably correct, was interjected by you. Nobody here has made as bigoted of a remark as you have.

      • Lyndia

        Jim, perhaps you did not read the prior blogs. Yes, was statements about Mexicans and inferences about blacks too. However, you can only stay on welfare 2 or 5 years. It’s not like a person can make a living off of it. You never know when you may get down on your luck and need some help for a while. You are wrong about Wanda. She was on the point. Don’t be so sensitive.

  • Wanda

    medicaid.. mot medicare. Sorry for the mistake

    • Roberta Waker

      Why not cut the emission testing facilities? They don’t ever seem to be very busy with people just sitting around and the cars that wouldn’t pass don’t even get tested because they are too old. Seems like a big waste of taxpayer money.

  • Midwest Vet

    Why don’t we get rid of the Governors office all together I mean after all we have that piece of sh!t Mayor Rahm running the state anyways.

    • bullrider

      Good point. And the city of Chicago basically chooses the governor and senators and secretary of state anyhow – never mind that they do so with a disproportionate amount of non-working or illegal residents. They are busy keeping Dems in office to keep the gravy spout a-flowin’.

      Illinois is a microcosm of why we have the electoral college votiing for President – it keeps a handful of metro areas from being able to automatically elect our President.

  • Afro
  • bullrider

    Cutting Medicaid is a very simplistic and wrong approach. First, the government sends people to the hospitals and pays just a fraction of the actual cost via Medicaid. Cutting Medicaid just forces the hospitals to conjure up more money – from US, who have to pay our own bills and buy ever more expensive insurance.

    What is needed is to cut off the non-citizens entirely from government programs. I realize this is contrary to the Democrats keeping these people online as potential voters but it is simply wrong to keep dumping more costs on the hospitals and the working taxpayers to keep the Dems happy.

    I wish I could tell the government “well I am going to balance my budget by sending the government 30% less money, and I expect them to do all that they’ve been doing all along and don’t bother me with how.” That is how the government conducts itself. All else I can say is I thank GOD I moved out of Illinois and you couldn’t get me to move back unless… no, there’s no way at all.

  • Jack

    blacks and browns are the major problem.

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/02/21/treasurer-rutherford-state-government-lacks-long-range-planning/ Treasurer Rutherford: State Government Lacks Long-Range Planning « CBS Chicago

    […] Quinn is preparing to deliver his budget address for the year on Wednesday. He will reportedly call for a 9 percent cut for most state agencies, and for major cuts to the Illinois Medicaid program. […]

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    […] reason I’m sharing this dismal information with Dangerous Intersection is because Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has leaked to the press that he will be shutting Tamms […]

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