Governor makes bad decision to cut
Medicaid managed care
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From Bill Brady
[AUG. 20, 2005]
Medicaid costs to the state are escalating and
consuming an ever larger percentage of the General Revenue Fund.
Medicaid costs have escalated at an average rate of 8 percent since
fiscal 1999. In just two years, spending for Medicaid has increased
from $5.1 billion, or 23 percent of general funds, to $6 billion,
which is 26 percent of general funds. Left unchecked, Medicaid will
claim larger allocations of the budget at the expense of other
programs, including education.
One way to slow the growth of Medicaid costs is to place more
Medicaid clients in managed care health programs. Last year, a
bipartisan task force had public meetings throughout the state to
investigate ways to have more Medicaid patients use managed care
health programs, with the goal of reining in the skyrocketing costs
paid by taxpayers for Medicaid and improving the quality of care for
Medicaid patients. An independent study by the Lewin Group also
showed that Illinois could realize hundreds of millions of dollars
in savings by using more managed care programs for delivering
So what did the governor do? He ignored the
recommendations of the task force and the Lewin Group report and
actually reduced the number of Medicaid clients who will be enrolled
in managed care programs -- thereby costing the state even more
money and disrupting health care for those patients who were in the
managed care programs. He also approved yet another expansion of
Medicaid coverage, resulting in an additional 74,000 adults becoming
eligible for Medicaid, at an annual cost of $65 million.
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Illinois already ranks 47th in the nation in terms of Medicaid
managed care programs. Blagojevich’s decisions move us that much
farther in the wrong direction.
Sen. Bill Brady,
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