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Critics: Medicaid Services That Rauner Wants Cut Actually Save Money

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
03/09/15  9:55 PM PST
Illinois Medicaid

By Wes Venteicher for the Chicago Tribune

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed $1.47 billion in Medicaid cuts includes reductions in dental services, mental health care and other coverage. But some legislators and patient advocates say the targeted services don’t just help keep people healthy — they also save the state money.

The proposed cuts would eliminate or reduce coverage of adult dental care, podiatry, renal dialysis and hemophilia and funding of some mental health rehabilitation facilities, according to a budget document and a Rauner budget official. The cuts would also reduce funding for hospitals by about $735 million, according to the Illinois Hospital Association.

Many of the targeted patient services were recently restored to the Medicaid program after being eliminated a few years ago to save money, Rauner noted in his budget address Wednesday. Legislators who support the services say eliminating them cost the state more in the long run.

Regarding Rauner’s proposed cuts, Democratic Senate President John Cullerton said: “We already did that.

“We found, for example, that if you cut people’s dental services and then they don’t go to a dentist, they end up going to an emergency room and it costs us more money,” Cullerton said. “So we went back and examined that and made a change.”

“People will not miraculously get better if they’re denied care for services,” said Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago. “They’ll just end up at a higher level of care in an acute care setting at the most expensive end of their disease.”

Read the Full Article at the Chicago Tribune.

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