The Illinois Hospital Association today released its own position paper on Medicaid. The hospitals think Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed $350 million cut goes too far, and they are offering an alternative.
Maryjane Wurth, president of the IHA, calls the changes in Medicaid "a very, very critical issue."
"When you look at what are the drivers of cost for Medicaid in Illinois, the growth in the program has been primarily due to increased individuals, the number of individuals who are now eligible for Medicaid ... for a whole series of reasons," Wurth told the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board earlier this month. "Everybody is potentially just one job loss away from being on Medicaid."
(John H. White~Sun-Times)
The number of enrollees in Medicaid has risen sharply over the last 10 years. There were 1.7 million individuals on Medicaid in Illinois 10 years ago. Now there are 2.7 million.
One in three hospitals in Illinois already is operating in the red, partly because the state has relatively low Medicaid reimbursement rates, Wurth said.
"We are 44th in the country as far as spending per beneficiary, which is well below the national average" she said. "When you look at peer states, they are often two times the spending per beneficiary."
According to the proposal released today, the hospitals think there is far more money to be saved than the governor's office does by weeding out people who aren't eligible for Medicaid. Quinn's proposal predicts $120 million; the hospitals think it could be $240 million to $720 million.
They also are proposing other measures they say could save significant amounts of money. If they're right, the cuts to Medicaid reimbursement rates wouldn't have to be so deep.
Read the IHA's Medicaid Proposal.pdf here.
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