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Spokeswoman: Quinn Wants To Take On Ballooning Medicaid Costs

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) -- A spokeswoman says Gov. Pat Quinn wants to address the problem of skyrocketing Medicaid costs in Illinois, but state legislators are not cooperating.

As WBBM Newsradio's Alex Degman reports, a Civic Federation report says Medicaid costs are increasing 6 percent a year, and unpaid Medicaid bills could increase to $23 billion by 2017.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Alex Degman reports


"What's new is really that the Medicaid growth – the growth that's the public-funded health care program for those people that are either the poorest or the most vulnerable – is growing at such a rate that it is going to swamp as well as the pension crisis in the State of Illinois," Civic Federation President Laurence Msall said Monday.

The Civic Federation found the state could face $35 billion in unpaid bills by 2017, years after the temporary tax increase expires.

Kelly Kraft, spokeswoman for the Gov. Pat Quinn's budget office, says the governor wants to address the problem, but lawmakers so far have not.

"We did last year call for a reimbursement rate reduction, but there's not an appetite to do that," Kraft said. "We're going to continue to have our efforts become a reality. As I've mentioned, we need an aggressive restructuring of the Medicaid system."

Kraft couldn't say what specific changes the Office of Management and Budget is seeking to the Medicaid system, but says Quinn last year proposed a 6 percent cut in the Medicaid reimbursement rate.

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