$1.6 billion saved via provider rate cuts, spending reductions and service limitations
CHICAGO – The Illinois House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved major reforms and budget cuts to the Illinois Medicaid system.

The House voted 94-22 for legislation, Senate Bill 2840 sponsored by state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), that slices $1.6 billion from the Illinois Medicaid system through a combination of health care provider rate cuts and the reduction or elimination of health care services to the poor.

“This bill is the result of months of deliberations and negations between legislators, hospitals, providers, health care organizations, advocates and other key stakeholders,” Feigenholtz said. “We have done as much as possible to deliver these cuts with the least amount of impact to vulnerable populations.”

Under the proposal, doctors, dentists, federally qualified health centers, government hospitals, safety net hospitals, and critical access hospitals would see no reduction in their current reimbursement rates while all other hospitals would experience a 3.5% rate cut, according to Feigenholtz. Nursing homes would have their rates cut 10% for low need patients and 1% for high need patients.

Adult Medicaid patients’ services would be limited, including eyeglasses, wheelchair repairs, and physical therapy services. Prescription drugs for all patients would be limited to four per month, although this cap could be lifted with doctor approval. The Illinois Cares Rx senior prescription drug program will be eliminated completely.

Additionally, eligibility for Family Care, which offers coverage to low-income parents, would be reduced to 133% of the federal poverty level.

“Our goal has always been to make the ‘least worst’ decisions when making these cuts,” said Feigenholtz. “Although painful, I am confident that these reforms will make the system more stable and efficient to ensure that a strong Medicaid system can continue to provide care for the most vulnerable.”

Yet-to-be-introduced legislation raising the state tax on cigarettes by $1 a pack would generate $350 million in new revenue. A 100% federal match would add an additional $350 million to help fund Medicaid services.

Senate Bill 2840 now awaits consideration by the Senate and final approval by Governor Pat Quinn.

For more information, contact Feigenholtz’s constituent services office at (773) 296-4141 or sara@staterepsara.com.