Posted tagged ‘Andrew Thomason’

Gov. Pat Quinn Proposed Illinois Medicaid Cuts to Cost Illinois Economy $3.2 Billion, Report Says

April 26, 2012

(Springfield, IL) – Two health-care advocacy groups are predicting thousands of job losses and billions of dollars in economic damage to Illinois, if Gov. Pat Quinn’s plan to conjure $2.7 billion in savings from the Medicaid program is implemented.

Quinn’s plan would jeopardize 25,615 jobs and cost the state’s economy $3.2 billion, according to a report released Wednesday by the Illinois Hospital Association, which lobbies for Illinois hospitals, and the Campaign for Better Health Care, an organization that advocates for health-care access

“Drastic Medicaid cuts hurt everyone, not just the Medicaid patients. Hospitals will be forced to reduce jobs. Local businesses will be impacted,” Illinois Hospital Association President Maryjane Wurth said.

“And hospitals will be forced to cut or eliminate medical services that everyone uses — there is not a separate set of staff, equipment and facilities just for Medicaid patients.”

Quinn’s proposal reduces the amount Medicaid providers get paid by $675 million, accounting for 25 percent of the $2.7 billion in savings.

Nearly every dollar of the $6.6 billion the state spends on Medicaid goes to providers. Cutting provider reimbursement’s by $675 million translates into an across the board rate reduction of 7 percent to 9 percent for providers, according to Quinn spokeswoman Brie Callahan.

Callahan said that in the end it wouldn’t be a blanket rate cut. Some providers would see rates reduced by more than 9 percent, while others might avoid a rate cut all together.

“That still is something that’s being worked out,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said. “These are tough choices, but the reality is that (the) entire Medicaid system will collapse, which would be far worse, if we do nothing.”

Anderson pointed out that Quinn’s plan actually doesn’t seek $2.7 billion in cuts to the Medicaid program. Instead, it calls for:

  • Cutting $2 billion in services and what Medicaid providers are paid,
  • Raising the state’s cigarette tax by a dollar, from 98 cents to $1.98.

The tax hike is expected to yield $337.5 million, plus a federal match of $337.5 million for that tax increase, all of which would cover the rising cost of Medicaid, according to Quinn’s office.

(more…)

Illinois Taxpayers Gave State Government a $1.2-billion Shot of Cash in August

September 9, 2011

(Springfield, IL) — Taxpayers gave Illinois a $1.2-billion shot of cash in August, or $464 million more than last August.

Personal income tax revenue jumped by 68 percent for last month when compared with the same time in 2010, almost mirroring the personal income tax increase of 67 percent approved in January, according to a report issued by the Legislature’s Commission on Government Accountability and Forecasting, or COGFA, this week.

Overall, the state’s revenue jumped from $1.9 billion in August 2010 to $2.2 billion last month, an increase of 13 percent.

However, focusing on the month-to-month numbers won’t give an accurate picture of the state’s fiscal health, said Jim Muschinske, COGFA’s revenue manager and author of the August revenue report that outlines Illinois’ finances.

“I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, and I don’t get excited over one month. There is just too much that happens on a month-by-month basis,” Muschinske said.

For example, income tax receipts from July through December, or the first half of fiscal 2012, might show big gains compared to last year. But those increases are only because of the income tax increase, and not because the state’s workforce or economy is doing better, according to the COGFA report.

The state also got a one-time shot of $73 million relating to the selling of a permit for and opening of the state’s 10th riverboat casino this summer in Des Plaines.

Higher revenue for August flowed in despite the state collecting less money from the federal government. The end of the federal stimulus package and the state’s extension on paying its social service vendors caused a decline of federal funding by $264 million, or 66 percent less, to $135 million last month compared with $399 million last August.

For the entire fiscal year, the state will lose about $1 billion in federal funding, Muschinske said. Under the federal stimulus, for every $2 the state spent on Medicaid, the federal government kicked in $1.20. But that extra 20 cents has been phased out, along with the strings attached to it.

“What happened under the stimulus plan was that the federal government said ‘we’ll give you the higher matching rates, but in order to qualify, you are going to have to pay (social service) providers in 30 days. That’s far quicker that we’ve ever paid before,” Muschinske said.

“Now that the match is gone, part of the way to manage our resources was the decision to allow approximately $1 billion in bills to be pushed back and the payment cycled moved to more historic levels” of 60 to 90 days, he said.

The state now has overdue bills from social service providers, schools and others totaling $3.8 billion, said Brad Hahn, spokesman for the state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s Office.

Legislators, when crafting the $33-billion operating budget for the state, said that any extra revenue would go toward paying off the state’s backlog of bills.

However, Gov. Pat Quinn has said the budget sent to him doesn’t contain enough spending to operate at least 12 state agencies through the end of the fiscal year.

Andrew Thomason, Illinois Statehouse News

Michael Madigan, Tom Cross Bring House Bi-Partisanship to Illinois Budget Debate

March 31, 2011

(Springfield, IL) — March 31, 2011. In a rare display of bipartisanship, Illinois House of Representatives Speaker Democratic Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and Republican leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) appeared together on Wednesday to present the first of several pieces of legislation that could make up the state’s budget for the next year.

This is the first time in several years rank-and-file lawmakers will play an active role in deciding where the money will go. For most of the past decade, legislative leaders from the House and Senate — or just the majority leaders — would meet with the governor and decide on broad appropriations. The governor’s office would then decide line-by-line details.

Additionally, lawmakers last year gave the governor “super” budget powers to increase or decrease lump sums in the budget during the fiscal year.

“I think you’re going to see member-driven budget-making. … A large, large share of these budget-making decisions will be made by the members,” Madigan, D-Chicago, said.

Cross, R-Oswego, said that setting a number the state can spend — in the case of education, that’s $6.8 billion — makes it easier for those receiving state funding to plan for the next fiscal year.

Lawmakers in January increased the personal income tax by 67 percent, and the corporate income tax by 45.9 percent in an effort to collect an additional $6 billion-plus annually. However, the state still has a backlog of bills and other financial obligations totaling $9 billion to $10 billion.

Andrew Thomason, Illinois Statehouse News