Illinois Medicaid payment boost talks to
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[June 20, 2017]
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Talks over
boosting Illinois' lagging payments to Medicaid providers amid the
state's budget impasse will continue past a Tuesday deadline initially
set by a federal judge, an attorney said on Monday.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lefkow directed both
sides to file motions on Tuesday if they failed to reach a negotiated
solution that would put Illinois in substantial compliance with federal
consent decrees on Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor and
"We're still talking to the state," said Tom Yates, executive director
of Legal Council for Health Justice, who is representing the state's 3
million Medicaid recipients.
Yates added while he could not divulge details of the talks, no motion
will be filed on Tuesday on behalf the recipients, some of whom could
lose their access to medical services because Illinois owes Medicaid
providers $2 billion.
Eileen Boyce, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Attorney General's office,
confirmed that talks were ongoing and said the office did not plan to
file a motion on behalf of the state on Tuesday.
Lefkow's June 7 order found Illinois' minimal payments to managed care
organizations that in turn pay doctors and others did not comply with
the consent decrees, which resulted from two cases filed against the
state in 1992. In the wake of the order, Illinois general obligation
bond prices plummeted and yields soared in U.S. municipal market
trading, although the bonds subsequently clawed back some losses.
An impasse between Illinois' Republican governor and Democrats who
control the legislature has left the nation's fifth-largest state
without a complete budget for an unprecedented two-straight fiscal
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Bruce Rauner speaks to the media after a meeting with U.S. President
Barack Obama and other Governor-elects from seven U.S. states at the
White House in Washington December 5, 2014. REUTERS/Larry
As a result, the state has amassed an unpaid bill pile topping $15
billion, while payments mandated by state law for expenses such as
debt service on bonds and pensions were made in full.
The next court status hearing for the Medicaid cases is scheduled
for June 28, just days before the July 1 start of Illinois' new
Governor Bruce Rauner has ordered lawmakers into a special session
beginning on Wednesday to pass a fiscal 2018 budget.
Entering a third-straight fiscal year without a spending plan could
sink Illinois' credit ratings to "junk," a first for any U.S. state,
leaving some investors unable to buy the state's debt and others to
demand even fatter yields.
(Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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