Monday, September 17, 2012
SPRINGFIELD – House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) joined with leading Medicaid reform legislator Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) Monday to call on Governor Pat Quinn to implement, without delay, the bipartisan Medicaid reform law to achieve millions in projected cost savings and protect low-income and disabled residents.
Under one of the major provisions in the law, the State is required to utilize a private vendor to review eligibility based on ability to pay and residency. This is anticipated to scrub as many as 300,000 ineligible individuals off the Medicaid rolls and save the state $350 million. However, Administration officials recently announced their intention to delay implementation of this provision until January 2013, a full six months into the state’s current fiscal year.
“Failure to act may very well lead to the Governor coming back to us in January or sooner and saying we need to make additional cuts to vulnerable families and/or raise new revenue, which is code for raising taxes,” Leader Cross said. “Our Medicaid reform law was specifically and carefully crafted to avoid such a doomsday scenario. We must fully implement the reforms now.”
“The state’s budget was predicated on achieving the $350 million in cost savings on the basis of the law’s prompt and timely implementation,” Leader Radogno said. “Any unnecessary delay would blow a hole in the budget and make it more difficult to ensure that scarce Medicaid funding goes to the individuals and families who need it most. We cannot allow this to happen.”
Along with the leaders, Sen. Righter and Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale), lead Medicaid reform negotiators, sent a letter to the administration detailing these concerns today. House Resolution 1225 was also filed in the House that would help shine a brighter light on the implementation of these reforms and require a monthly implementation briefing.
“With so much at stake and millions of low-income and disabled Illinois residents depending on Medicaid, we cannot afford any delay in fully implementing this law,” said Rep. Bellock. “We have come too far to allow administrative delays to threaten the heath care of millions of Illinois families.”
“This scrubbing of the rolls component is a centerpiece of our bipartisan Medicaid reforms,” Sen. Righter said. “Individuals who make too much money, are not residents of Illinois, aged-out of the AllKids program, or have died must be removed from the rolls so that we can re-focus our limited resources on preserving access to health care for the needy. We cannot afford delay.”
Illinois’ Medicaid reform law contains tight timeframes for the procurement of the eligibility verification vendor to ensure that the eligibility reviews begin in a timely manner. While the requirements for an initial procurement to be conducted within 60 days and for a contract to be signed within 30 days of a vendor being selected have been met, delays in eligibility reviews becoming operational pose the potential to hinder this crucial reform.
In addition to this one provision, there are dozens of other reforms that total close to $1.3 billion that are included in the Medicaid reform law. These also need to be implemented during the current fiscal year.
“We will be monitoring the implementation of all of these reforms to make sure we hit the target that is included in the budget,” Radogno and Cross added. “It is unacceptable to delay.”