Illinois Medicare system found 'financially
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[NOV. 22, 2004]
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
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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.