The governor repeatedly has said the state must find $2.7 billion in savings from the
Quinn proposed $1.35 billion in program cuts and reductions, which range from eliminating a discount prescription program from seniors to limiting eligibility that would remove thousands of patients from the insurance rolls. He also wants to slash rates for hospitals and other health care providers, which he says will save $675 million.
To offset the need for some cuts, the governor wants to raise cigarette taxes by $1 a pack, which his office says would generate about $675 million for healthcare once federal matching dollars are added in.
"If we don't deal with this problem right now, it will just get worse," Quinn said at a Springfield news conference this afternoon.
"We have to make some fundamental changes," Quinn said, noting the reductions, cuts and efficiencies have been "difficult."
Raising the tax of cigarettes by $1 a pack is part of a balanced approach that will cut down on the number of youngsters and help the state collect more matching federal funds, he said.
"We can't stand on the side and do nothing about it," Quinn said.
They called for Quinn to keep working with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to find more reforms and cuts in the Medicaid program rather than tax hikes.
One member of the working group, Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, said he won't support the cigarette tax increase. A substantial part of his legislative district borders Indiana, and he fears the cheaper cigarette taxes will prompt people to travel across the border to shop and go out to eat when they to go Indiana to buy cheaper cigarettes.
Another member of the working group, Sen.
She supported the governor coming forward with his own plan, saying he's "proposing a whole solution." But she cautioned that there's "just not entire agreement" on the elements he's rolled out.
Among Quinn's proposals:
-Eliminating the Illinois Cares Rx program, which provides access to discount prescriptions for 180,000 seniors and people with disabilities.
-Limiting eligibility for the state's Family Care insurance program for adults. Roughly 26,400 people would no longer qualify for coverage.
-Eliminating several so-called "optional" services the state provides that are not required by the federal government. They include
-Limiting podiatric care to patients with disabilities.
-Reducing hospice costs by 10 percent by working with providers to keep expenses down.
-No longer paying for electivec-sectiondeliveries and cutting the rates doctors are paid for delivering babies viac-section, which is more expensive than traditional delivery.
-Limiting who qualifies for weight loss surgery.
-Putting in place a review process before paying for certain medicines, including drugs that treat hemophilia,
-Placing a moratorium on new admissions to intermediate nursing care facilities and mental health facilities.
-Requiring patients to pay new and higher co-pays, including a $10 fee for unnecessarily seeking treatment at emergency rooms and new co-pays for those who receive generic drugs.
-Eliminating $13.8 million in grants to 11 teaching hospitals across the state.