WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Hammond Says Medicaid Reform Bill is Key to Cuts

Feb 22, 2012

State Representative Norine Hammond says Illinois could save about half the Medicaid money the governor targeted in his budget address.

Governor Pat Quinn wants to cut $2.7 billion from Medicaid spending for next fiscal year.

Hammond said Quinn signed a bill into law  about a year ago that tightened Medicaid eligibility requirements. The changes never took effect because the state needed a federal waiver first. The waiver request was denied.

The Macomb Republican said, “All we need now is for him (Governor Quinn) to act and request the waivers of the federal government to implement those changes to our eligibility. So that's going to be a start but it's not far enough.”

She estimates the changes would save the state up to $1.5 billion.

Hammond said the state has a ”Cadillac” Medicaid plan that covers things like chiropractic care and eyeglasses.

She said cutting reimbursement for services shouldn't be discussed until the state starts paying health care providers on time.

Hammond said, “Many of them have said, 'You know what. I can provide the service if I can be guaranteed a payment schedule.'”