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What health reform means for the people of Illinois

A blog by IllinoisHealthMatters.org

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Keep Illinois Medicaid Strong: Principles for Financial Stability

The Illinois Medicaid program provides life-saving health coverage to nearly 2.7 million
low-income children, parents, seniors, and people with disabilities and behavioral health
needs, including addiction and mental illness. However, the program faces a $2.7 billion deficit this year, and legislators are exploring a range of solutions. We all need to ask: How much does each of these “solutions” actually cost us in health and long-term care outcomes and state funds? Our organizations endorse the following principles for stabilizing the Illinois Medicaid program.

Solutions such as cutting prescription drug coverage, eligibility, or optional services are unacceptable and will drive up long-term state costs. The services people on Medicaid receive now reduce future state health spending by providing prevention services and early intervention. 

Transformative Medicaid reforms are being implemented but need time to work. To improve the health and lives of Medicaid recipients while reducing costs, Illinois is contracting with commercial managed care companies and networks of providers to implement robust care coordination models. However, these programs cannot be in place overnight.

The General Assembly and Governor have underfunded Medicaid for 20 years; a multi-year solution is needed to balance the program budget. Medicaid reforms enacted in 2011 already establish a decade-long glide path to pay old bills, and this plan should be followed.
The Medicaid budget cannot be balanced with Medicaid cuts alone. New revenue and savings from legislative changes in other budget areas must be applied to Medicaid. Medicaid cannot be firewalled from the rest of the state budget; it is an economic engine that supports families, creates jobs, and helps children learn.

Supporters of this Statement: AARP IllinoisAccess LivingAgeOptionsAIDS Foundation of Chicago
American Cancer Society (Illinois Division)Campaign for Better Health Care, Chicago ADAPT, Citizen Action IllinoisCJE SeniorLifeDoctors Council SEIUHaymarket CenterHealth and Disability AdvocatesHealth and Medicine Policy Research GroupHeartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human RightsIL Alcoholism and Drug Dependence AssociationIL Alliance for Retired AmericansIL Association of Public Health AdministratorsIL Association of Rehabilitation FacilitiesIL Chiropractic SocietyIL Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee RightsIL Iowa Center for Independent LivingIL Maternal and Child Health CoalitionIL Partners for Human ServiceIL Primary Health Care AssociationIL Public Health AssociationIL Society for Advanced Practice NursingIllinois Society for Public Health EducationIL Valley Center for Independent LivingIllinois Network of Centers for Independent LivingImpact CILLatino Policy ForumNational Organization of Nurses with DisabilitiesNew Age ServicesOunce of Prevention Fund

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