The new Republican health care legislation in Congress could cost Illinois $40 billion dollars in federal funding over the next decade. That’s according to the recent report by the Congressional Budget Office.
Illinois’ health care exchange has not been the success Obamacare proponents were hoping for. Insurance companies have struggled to find customers.
But hospitals say the expansion of Medicaid has been huge for Illinois. It’s given 600,000 people access to healthcare, so far paid in full by the federal government.
Roberta Rakove, of the Sinai Health System in Chicago, says the results have been positive.
“These patients now have medical homes. They’re receiving preventative care. They’re being treated much earlier in their illnesses," Rakove said.
But Felicia Norwood, director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, says a problem is how little the state gets from Washington to pay for the Medicaid program.
“Illinois has always been at the bottom based on the fact that Illinois is considered a wealthier state," Norwood said.
Illinois has a large share of its population on Medicaid. But because it’s the fifth-wealthiest state, the feds only cover about half the costs.
The new plan in Congress would place a hard limit on how much the federal government spends on Medicaid in each state. Even if the number of Illinoisans eligible for Medicaid were to grow, the state would not be able to get more money.
Hospitals estimate the plan would shove about 400,000 Illinoisans off Medicaid by 2026.