Medicaid cost-cutting plan skirts state law

Illinois' plans to slash $1.6 billion from its Medicaid spending over the next several years includes potentially awarding a cost-reduction contract to a firm that will not be subjected to state-mandated bidding guidelines, reported Illinois Statehouse News.

The bill, which Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law last week, subjects Medicaid enrollees to strict eligibility guidelines. However,  it also allows for the hiring of an out-of-state firm to perform eligibility checks in an expedited process that spurns normal state contracting procedures, according to the article. A new contractor is expected to be hired within 90 days.

"It's very labor intensive (purging the Medicaid rolls), and we think bringing the contractor on board would be cost effective, and going through the normal procurement process would be very time consuming," Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services spokesman Mike Claffey told Statehouse News.

The spending cuts to Medicaid include not only tightening eligibility guidelines but also dropping as many as 25,000 working adults off the rolls whose children qualify for Medicaid, according to the Associated Press.

The deep cuts in the Medicaid program parallel Quinn's signing of a bill that requires hospitals to provide a dollar-to-dollar match in charity care for their property tax exemptions, as well as greatly expands the definition of charity care.

To learn more:
- read the Statehouse News article
- here's the AP article