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What health reform means for the people of Illinois

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Cutting Illinois Cares Rx Would be Penny-Wise & Pound Foolish

The Chicago Tribune recent editorial, "Time to move on medicaid spending," correctly points out that Illinois must look at its Medicaid spending and implement innovative ways to cut costs while preserving care to its very poor and sick participants.

However, the suggestion to cut the small but extremely crucial program, Illinois Cares Rx, to assist in this important endeavor would be penny-wise and pound foolish. Illinois Cares Rx plays an important role in our medical safety net system. By assisting Illinois Cares Rx participants with deductibles and co-payments for their Medicare Part D plan, the cost of which are otherwise out of reach for them, we don’t force them to cut corners on taking their medicines or skip filling prescriptions altogether. This, in turn, keeps our Medicare beneficiaries healthier and out of hospitals and nursing homes, where Medicare beneficiaries quickly become Medicaid recipients. By investing in prescription access now, we avoid greater costs later.

Just because the federal government does not foot the bill does not mean it is not a good idea.

John V. Coburn
Senior Policy Attorney
Health & Disability Advocates

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