An expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul could increase Illinois' unpaid bills. The expansion reportedly would also force the state to take even longer to pay its existing $9 billion in backlogged bills. Medicaid is the government health program for the poor and disabled. The General Assembly is considering approving a federally subsidized expansion of the program. Estimates show that about 342,000 additional Illinois residents could become eligible under the planned expansion. The federal government would fully fund the first three years of the expansion. It would then incrementally drop the funding. The Illinois Senate in February approved a measure authorizing the enrollment increase. Officials expect the House to vote on the issue by May 31.
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