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IL House Votes To Undo Medicaid Cuts

Wed, 28 May 2014 14:31:29 CDT
By: IPR's Brian Mackey

The Illinois House has voted to undo a series of cuts in the state's program of health care for the poor. As IPR's Brian Mackey reports, backers of the change say the cuts have come with a significant cost.


Two years ago, Democrats and Republicans agreed to massive reductions in the Medicaid program, with savings estimated at greater than $2 billion. Now Democrats say some of those cuts are costing more than they're worth. Adult dental services, for example, were limited to emergencies only. But without routine check-ups, patients wait until problems get really bad, then show up in emergency rooms, sometimes with significant infections.

Rep. Mary Flowers, a Democrat from Chicago, says better to pay the smaller amount for routine care than to wait and be stuck with a heftier hospital bill. And she says there are other benefits for people with healthy teeth.

"They will be able to go to work and not lose wages -- the lost opportunity of not being able to find a job," said Flowers.

The legislation would also restore podiatry care and allow people with mental illness to have increased access to medication. It passed on a bi-partisan vote of 75-37, and now goes to the Senate.

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