Medicaid cuts short of savings expectations

Medicaid cuts short of savings expectations

SPRINGFIELD -- Last year the state cut more than $1.5 billion from its Medicare program, but a new report shows the actual savings are a lot less. <br>
SPRINGFIELD -- Last year the state cut more than $1.5 billion from its Medicare program, but a new report shows the actual savings are a lot less. The latest figures show the state's saving nearly a half billion less than what was expected.

The cuts were aimed at helping get Illinois' budget back on track. Limits were put on prescriptions, dental and chiropractic visits were dropped and eligibility requirements were changed; all of which forced thousands out of the program.

That all saved about $1 billion, but the federal government said "no" to other cuts, including nursing homes and certain hospital stays. Plus, a plan to weed out people who shouldn't have been on Medicaid in the first place, isn't going as planned. It's taking a lot longer to see who checks out and who doesn't.

Even though we won't see all of that money back this year, we could still save more in the future once all those eligibility checks are finished. No word from lawmakers whether there will be more cuts down the road or not to make up the difference.

The state is still getting an extra $2 billion from Medicaid reforms this year. The cuts free up about $1 billion.

Plus, there was $1.00 per pack tax hike on cigarettes to add more revenue. The state can use the savings to help pay down its backlog of debt.
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