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Topinka warns Medicaid expansion in Obama health care law could be costly for Illinois

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below, from Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.....

CHICAGO - Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka warned lawmakers on Thursday that the Supreme Court's ruling on the federal Affordable Care Act could lead to hundreds of thousands of new residents enrolling for Medicaid coverage, and cost the state up to $2.4 billion over the next six years.

The forewarning from the state Fiscal Officer comes after the Court ruled that the federal government can tax residents that do not have health insurance. Given the decision, uninsured residents that qualify for Medicaid are expected to increasingly enroll in the program, and cost the state up to $2.4 billion over six years in the process.

"There is no doubt that this will cost the state, the only question is how much?" Topinka said. "We have thousands of residents around the state that are eligible for Medicaid but have never enrolled for one reason or another. We expect they will increasingly come forward, and I urge lawmakers to start saving now for those added costs."

Medicaid currently accounts for more than 20 percent of the state budget and continues to grow. Underfunded, the program will end the fiscal year June 30 with an estimated $2 billion in unpaid bills. In an attempt to address those realities, members of the General Assembly this Spring voted to limit services and cut an estimated $2 billion from the program.

"Illinois is a textbook example of what can happen if financial challenges are not proactively addressed," Topinka said. "The state needs to learn from experience, and take steps today to address the increased Medicaid costs that will occur in coming months and years."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 28, 2012 12:35 PM.

Brad Schneider reacts to Supreme Court upholding Obama health care law was the previous entry in this blog.

Illinois Hospital Assn. reacts to Supreme Court upholding Obama health care law is the next entry in this blog.

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