Legislature OKs Medicaid cuts may not vote on the cigarette tax

The Illinois House of Representatives and the Senate on Thursday passed pieces of repair Medicaid, including legislation reducing $ 1.6 billion from the program. Governor Pat Quinn commended the legislators, but they say that their work will not be finalized until they are at $ 1 per pack tax on cigarettes.

“Higher prices for cigarettes are also sound health policy. Smoking-related conditions, a significant burden on our system, Medicaid, and this measure will improve the health of our people and reduce future costs of Medicaid”, he said in a statement.

House voted 94-22 and the Senate voted 44-13 to accept a reduction in Senate Bill 2840, which range from the direct elimination of some programs – such as taking care of Illinois Rx, a prescription drug assistance programs for older people – to take additional measures to ensure that those who receiving assistance are eligible for it. The bill now heads to the table Quinn.

“There is nothing about this bill, somebody quite pleased,” said Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago. “This system was on the verge of collapse.” Quinn wants legislature to come up with $ 2.7 billion in a combination of Medicaid expenditures and a reduction in new revenue for fiscal 2013. Cuts approved Thursday are the result of months of negotiations, lawmakers from both parties. Nevertheless, a few days before the vote, some Republicans said the reductions do not go deep enough.

However, the minority leader in the House of Representatives Tom Cross, R-Oswego, called the Medicaid changes “very important”. “This is the beginning of a slow trip out of this deep hole,” Cross said.

Liquidation of Illinois Rx cares about will affect 180,000. In addition, the bill limits participation in the program with a family of up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Medicaid recipients will be limited to one pair of glasses every two years, and adults will not be able to receive chiropractic and Podiatric services.

About 36 medical fragile children, who tend to rely on the fans in their homes, lose the coverage of the bill, which limits Medicaid for these children in families with no more than $ 112,000 in family income. “There’s pain in this bill, but we try to minimize the pain,” said Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, who helped negotiate reductions. “This will allow us a much better path for the Medicaid program for years to come.”

Some lawmakers said the reductions will hurt minority Illinois residents in need. They said that the state instead should avoid interruptions of business or to expand sales tax state tax to come up with additional money for Medicaid.
“I do not know where he says (budget) must be balanced with the backs of the poor, from the back of the elders, from the back of the blind and disabled,” said Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago.

“I think it’s a moral disgrace. When we click a green light, we are pushing people to the grave?” Said Sen. James Meeks, D-Chicago. Some opponents warn that government spending may actually increase the strength of contractions. Under the measure on Thursday, Medicaid recipients would be limited to four prescriptions without prior approval from the state. This may cause some recipients to do without some of the drugs, which can lead to hospitalization.

Thousands of current recipients are expected to be removed from the Medicaid rolls, when the state makes aggressive efforts to ensure that everyone who receives assistance shall be entitled to it. That would produce $ 350 million savings, although the Department of Health and Family Services Director Julie Hamos said the figure is just an assumption. It is estimated that 300,000 people in the list that should not be.

House Springfield area delegation – Reps. Raymond By, R-Springfield, rich Brauer, R-Petersburg, Jim Watson, R-Jacksonville, Wayne Rosenthal, R-Morrisonville, and Jil Tracy, R-Mt. Sterling – all voted “yes.” State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, voted “no.” Central Illinois Sen. Larry Bomke-, R-Springfield, Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, Sam McCann, R-Carlinville, and John Sullivan, D-Rushville – all voted “yes.”

Legislative leaders divided the package into separate parts, with a carrot and stick in each bill, hoping to shepherd through the tough measures the General Assembly and to the table Quinn.
In addition, as part of the package, the House of Representatives and the Senate sent the Quinn bill that would allow Cook County to do more and more people in Medicaid through local and federal funds, not state funds. Voting in the House of Representatives on House Bill 5007 was 62-55, and 35-22 in the Senate.

Government regulation currently prohibits the expansion of Medicaid rolls. HB5007 creates a waiver that would allow Cook County to start registering people who will be eligible in 2014, when the health of President Barack Obama’s health care reform plan must be put in place. Refusal expires, if the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law of health.

In an effort to appease Republicans who came under fire from right-wing groups to consider is what helps to Obamacare, the Democrats have proposed another law, Senate Bill 3397 that would limit the number of unpaid bills Medicaid, the state can move from year to year. The state will be allowed only for $ 700 million in fiscal 2013 and $ 100 million in fiscal year 2014.

Poe, Brauer, Watson, Rosenthal, Tracy Mitchell, Bomke, McCann, Brady Sullivan and all voted “no” on HB5007. These three bills are related – if one fails or is not signed by the governor, others too will fail.

“The governor likes taxes on cigarettes,” Cross said. “The governor does not like what we call a section 25, which prevents it from passing bills with. That’s why you see some of these connections.” Another part of the package will combine $ 1 per pack tax increase and property and sales tax exemptions for hospitals, according to Danny Chun, a representative of Illinois Hospital Association. The account number for this part is expected in the Senate Bill 2194, but the language has not yet been filed.

Cross said he expects some members of the House Republican to vote for cigarette tax increases. Most believe that every bill in the package would have to collect support from Republicans and Democrats, as the solutions so unpleasant. “I think you’ll find a complete package of the passage,” said Cross, who said he opposes tax hikes on cigarettes. “There’s a number of people in our meetings that came to me and said, ‘you know what, I think we did a good job of reducing … I want to be able to support the cigarette tax. We have no assembly position. I said, “If this is how you feel, I can certainly respect that.”

The final part of the package, Senate Bill 3261, will include a requirement that hospitals provide free care for people with low incomes, if the treatment is medically necessary, said Chong. Hospitals in urban areas should provide such assistance to people with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $ 46,000 for a family of four. Rural hospitals must provide such assistance to people with incomes 125 percent of federal poverty level, which is $ 28,812 for a family of four.

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