Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said it's time for state lawmakers to "step forward" and rescue the state's Medicaid system, even if requires some painful decisions.
The Democratic governor wants lawmakers to approve his plan for filling a $2.7 billion hole in the system. It includes reducing services for the poor, cutting payments to health-care providers, and raising cigarette taxes by $1 a pack.
State Representative Norine Hammond says Illinois could save about half the Medicaid money the governor targeted in his budget address.
Governor Pat Quinn wants to cut $2.7 billion from Medicaid spending for next fiscal year.
Hammond said Quinn signed a bill into law about a year ago that tightened Medicaid eligibility requirements. The changes never took effect because the state needed a federal waiver first. The waiver request was denied.
In his budget address, Governor Pat Quinn, said three-quarters of Illinois' pension burden is for people who don't work for the state. It covers some of the pension costs for teachers and others who are employees of local government bodies.
State Senator John Sullivan (D-47) said the state must bring all the stakeholders to the negotiating table to find a long-term solution to funding pensions.