Illinois Medicare system found 'financially unsustainable'     Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 22, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Lawmakers heard the results last week of a four-month investigation of the state's Medicaid system. The Medicaid Managed Care Task Force released its final report Nov. 18. Republicans insisted on the creation of the task force as part of this summer's overtime budget, to examine whether increasing managed care in the state's Medicaid system could help save the program and reduce skyrocketing costs.

Illinois' Medicaid program helps pay for health care for low-income families and costs taxpayers about $10 billion per year -- with costs steadily rising annually.

The task force concluded what Republicans have been warning for years -- the state's Medicaid system is financially unsustainable and must be reformed to improve the quality of recipients' health care and remain solvent. The task force stressed that virtually every state has used managed care principles, which provide consistent and continuing primary health care, to curtail the growth of their Medicaid programs. The study reported that Illinois is lagging behind in this regard, with less than 10 percent of the state's Medicaid population participating in managed care, compared with more than 50 percent of recipients nationally.

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The report also recommended the appointment of a private, independent consultant to review and evaluate the proposals that were brought before the task force, which held public hearings in Chicago, Springfield, Edwardsville, Urbana and Peoria.

[News release]

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