IL Governor Quinn Signs Tax, Medicaid Bills
SPRINGFIELD, IL -
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a $2.7 billion package of cuts and taxes designed to repair a long-term deficit in the state's Medicaid program.
The Democrat signed five bills on Thursday, including a tax increase on cigarettes of $1 per pack. Quinn says lawmakers "worked together in a bipartisan manner to tackle a grave crisis."
The cuts will mean leaner services for the state's 2.7 million Medicaid patients. More than 25,000 working parents will lose their state-funded health coverage on July 1.
Some nursing homes and hospitals will see their Medicaid payments reduced.
Illinois is eliminating extras like regular dental care for adults. Eyeglasses will be limited to one pair every two years. Patients will be limited to four prescription drugs per month without prior state approval.
Advocates for the poor and disabled have called Quinn's signing of the bills "short-sighted."
Kathy Chan of the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition says her group is relieved most services for children were preserved but disappointed more than 25,000 working parents will lose state health coverage July 1.
David Vinkler of AARP says the elimination of Illinois Cares Rx will hurt thousands of seniors. The program helped pay for medications. It ends July 1.
Barbara Otto of Health and Disability Advocates says kicking people off Medicaid will make them sicker and cost more to society.