Illinois Senate Democrats passed their version of the state budget Wednesday night. It's doubtful that will be the final spending plan for next year because it was missing a major component. Most people in Springfield have been planning for next year's budget with the idea that there would be a 2.7 billion dollar cut in Medicaid, the state's program of health care for the poor. That includes the budget Senate Democrats voted for. Even so, that plan didn't actually specify where those cuts would be made. Shortly before the Senate vote, black legislators came out as a united front, protesting the Medicaid reductions. Representative Mary Flowers, a Democrat from Chicago, says cutting benefits like prescription drugs is a lose-lose proposition:
"They'll be going to the emergency room and to the hospitals to get their prescription drugs. It's more costly. And for those who cannot, they'll just go home and die."
With just a week left in the legislative session, the fight over Medicaid seems to be holding up a broader budget agreement.
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