A pair of separate reports criticized proposed cuts to Illinois' Medicaid program. Governor Pat Quinn wants to reduce program spending by $2-billion dollars, and raise cigarette taxes to close the rest of the Medicaid budget shortfall.
Families USA, a liberal advocacy group, says such a move would cost Illinois more than 25-thousand jobs. The report says the job losses would be the result of a drop in business activity. Officials say Medicaid services allow family caregivers to keep working, rather than quit their jobs to care for elderly and disabled family members. The governor's response to the criticism is that the state's Medicaid system will collapse if nothing is done.
Meanwhile, another advocacy group is using the prospect of job losses to oppose the governor's plan.
The Responsible Budget Coalition says Illinois would lose almost 38-thousand jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity related to health care. The coalition includes advocates for retirees, housing and other services. Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability says that cutting Medicaid won't save that much. He says that's because spending less also means the state would get less in federal matching funds.