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Ill. governor’s plan scares hospital execs


The Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican,  has proposed cutting state spending on Medicaid by $1.5 billion, or about 10 percent. The Land of Lincoln’s hospital chiefs are not happy about it. But with firm Democratic control of the legislature, it seems implausible that there could be cuts that big at the end of the legislative session. His proposal is but the beginning of the bargaining in the fiscally stressed state.

Illinois Hospital Association President and CEO Maryjane A. Wurth told Becker’s Hospital Review that  the proposed  cut, as well as the governor’s policy changes, “would .. undo the substantial, groundbreaking progress being made to transform the Medicaid program and the state’s healthcare delivery system” and hurt  the economy. She asserted that a 10 percent spending cut to hospitals alone would kill more than 8,200 jobs and $1.1 billion in economic activity.

She also cited various evidence that the state Medicaid program has been ”cost-effective, … such as Illinois being ranked as 49thin the nation in Medicaid spending per enrollee…{and} that state taxpayer costs per Medicaid beneficiary have dropped an average of 1.2 percent per year over the past 10 years….

“To the extent that the State does not adequately fund Medicaid, these unfunded costs are shifted to middle class families through higher insurance premiums, co-payments and deductibles.”

Of course a reduction in Medicaid money could also mean a reduction in hospital executive salaries, though nothing to compare with cuts in Medicare.


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