Illinois Medicaid, Pension Costs Will Push Illinois Bill Backlog to $35 Billion in 5 Years

(Springfield, IL) – A new report released Monday from the Civic Federation, a Chicago-based nonpartisan policy group that focuses on state spending, predicts Illinois’ Medicaid costs will skyrocket over the next five years.

Laurence Msall, federation president, said lawmakers and governors have spent Illinois into a deep hole by expanding Medicaid, which provides health-care coverage to low-income families.

“What is most frightening is that even after the income tax, the state was not able to pass a budget to fully fund Medicaid,” Msall said, referring to a 67 percent personal income tax increase and a 48 percent corporate income tax increase in January 2011.

But even with that additional revenue, Illinois lawmakers still had to pay more than $1 billion in 2011 Medicaid bills.

The Civic Federation report paints a grim picture for Medicaid spending:

  • Illinois is on pace to spend a total of nearly $14 billion on Medicaid this year
  • Illinois’ Medicaid costs are expected to increase 41 percent over the next five years.
  • Gov. Pat Quinn is budgeting only a 13 percent spending increase.

Illinois will see as many as 296,000 new people enroll in Medicaid once the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act takes effect in 2014.

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Calling on Gov. Quinn to Negotiate Gaming Bill, Rep. Lou Lang Says State Should Not Guarantee Casino Owner Profits

(Springfield, IL) — It’s a sure bet that gaming expansion will come up during the Illinois legislature’s fall veto session, but who will win and who will bust is uncertain.

A plan to add five casinos throughout the state, expand the number of places where people can make bets at each casino, and allow video gambling at horse tracks eked out of the Legislature this spring but stalled in the face of opposition from Governor Pat Quinn.

Quinn has criticized the legislation repeatedly, calling it “top heavy.”

“The bill that they have proposed has many, many defects, and it needs to be improved substantially,” Quinn said earlier this week. “I’m going to speak about this later this month, and we’ll lay out some principles that I think ought to be used for the Legislature when it comes to gambling.”

Lawmakers will return Oct. 25 to the state Capitol for the start of the two-week veto session.

State Sen. President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, has put a temporary hold on the gaming legislation, preventing it from going to Quinn, who could reject part or all of the package.

From the end of the spring session until now, Quinn and legislators have met to discuss the gaming legislation, said state Rep. Lou Lang D-Skokie, who sponsored the gaming package in the House.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations, but there’s been no negotiation. The governor’s office is unwilling to negotiate and unwilling to tell us exactly what he wants in a bill,” Lang said.

Quinn said he is concerned about oversaturation, referring to the 10 current casinos in Illinois.

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