Illinois' Obamacare Troubles

The cash-strapped state prepares for a "train wreck" as Obamacare goes into effect.

Illinois wants to be the engine that pulls states toward the Affordable Care Act, yet a metaphorical “train wreck” is just around the bend.

Julie Hamos, director of Illinois’ Health Care and Family Services department, told Illinois lawmakers Tuesday never mind the president’s health care reform: the state is still struggling to fix the current health care system for the poor.

She said Illinois saved $1.1 billion last year, but lawmakers were expecting $1.6 billion in savings. The state has $2.3 billion in unpaid Medicaid bills.

“We haven’t solved the problem of not paying our Medicaid bills,” Hamos said.

Saving money in Illinois’ Medicaid system has been an exercise in lowered expectations.

State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) said Illinois hoped for more than $500 million in savings by simply trimming the Medicaid rolls.

That didn’t happen.

“Originally there has been some intent and effort to try and get a saving number of $700 million. We thought that might be high and unachievable,” Steans said. “We put it down to $350 million, still, I think, understanding that it might be difficult to achieve.”

Hamos doesn’t know how much Illinois could save by trimming the Medicaid rolls, in part because an outside auditor has reviewed the accounts for only 20,000 of Illinois’ 2.7 million Medicaid recipients.

“Of those 20,000 they have recommended to cancel 13,550.”

Hamos said those cases are now “with case workers” but didn’t say if anyone has actually been dropped from Medicaid yet.

But that number—13,550—is dwarfed by the huge increase in new Medicaid recipients under the Affordable Care Act.

Hamos expects 509,000 new Medicaid patients in Illinois by 2017, when the ACA is fully operational.

The federal government will cover 100 percent of the cost for most of those people, but the state would have to pay half for at least 167,000 new patients, as well as the 2.7 million people now on the Medicaid rolls.

Finding the money to pay those bills could be a problem. By 2014, Hamos said, the state is headed for a “train wreck,” which could leave the state wanting for billions in federal money.

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  • Mike M.||

    Think Cyprus can't happen here? It already has.

    An excellent, must-read article detailing how the evil Ben Bernanke is transferring massive amounts of wealth to the rich and crushing the dreams of ordinary Americans.

  • Sevo||

    As additional evidence:
    "In Cyprus, “it was blatant,” he said. “In the U.S., the Fed is imposing zero percent interest on all accounts. If we had normal rates, everyone would be getting 2 percent. The Fed is stealing 2 percent and nobody is complaining"
    http://blog.sfgate.com/pender/.....on-savers/

  • ||

    Too bad the article tries to back off it's theme towards the end:

    Even so, the impact of low rates on their consumption “should not be overstated” because most of their income comes from other sources, such as Social Security and pensions, and they can spend principal if necessary, Webb said. Seniors “would have likely been hurt far worse,” if the Fed had not stepped in and prevented a second Great Depression.
  • cw||

    The key is "seniors"; the long-term impact will be felt by younger generations.

  • Sevo||

    darius,
    This is from the Chron; for a columnist to admit that the government is less than all-knowing and all-seeing is probably testing the limits of her employment.
    Pender is the best columnist they've got, and that'll give you an idea of the crap that commonly gets committed to paper on that rag.

  • fish_remote||

    .....and that'll give you an idea of the crap that commonly gets committed to paper on that rag.

    You have no idea!

  • Sevo||

    I see what you did there.

  • ||

    And from the Huffington Post, here's an alternate take on the Cyprus bailouts (Warning: Article may cause homicidal rage in non-retarded readers.)

    It Can't Happen Here

    ... Or can it?

    The dollar's still the global currency. The Federal Reserve has an extremely broad set of tools at its disposal (although it's choosy about where and how to use them). A Cyprus-like incursion on people's savings seems unlikely here. But if the past several years have taught us anything, it's to "never say never."

    Whatever happens, the Cyprus story holds important lessons for every economy, including our own: Austerity has failed. So has bank deregulation. The 'fair share' principle of progressive taxation, which has guided the tax policies of Western nations for generations, is under assault.

    And this may be the most important lesson of all: The people who led us into this mess are the wrong ones to lead us out of it. In fact, they're beginning to look downright scary.
  • Anonymous Coward||

    Austerity has failed.


    Citation needed.

    So has bank deregulation.


    Citation needed.

    The 'fair share' principle of progressive taxation, which has guided the tax policies of Western nations for generations, is under assault.


    "Fair share" being a moving target at any given movement. Also, appeal to tradition (how CONSERVATIVE of you) in favor of plunder under color of law.

    Isn't that precious?

  • Sevo||

    "Austerity has failed."
    Whoever wrote that can take one look at the Euro countries and general and make that statement?
    -----------------------
    At least he gets this right:
    "The people who led us into this mess are the wrong ones to lead us out of it. In fact, they're beginning to look downright scary."
    But I have a feeling he thinks Ron Paul had something to do with it rather than the likes of FDR.

  • cw||

    Austerity includes tax increases, which both the U.S. and Europe have been implementing, as oppose to spending cuts. That, indeed, has been a failure.

  • lap83||

    When I hear that "austerity has failed" BS, I imagine the person saying it grew up in the lap of luxury and never had to understand money management. It's the political equivalent of "If poor people are starving, why don't they just buy more food?"

  • JWatts||

    Actually, it's more like "If poor people are starving, why don't the stores just give them food?"

  • Invisible Finger||

    Whoever wrote that is clearly brain-dead.

    What actually wound up happening in Cyprus is EXACTLY WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN when a fractionally-reserved bank is insolvent.

    The seriously insolvent banks (as opposed to merely mildly insolvent) are getting shut down and replaced. Deposit funds up to 100K are being moved into the new banks. Bondholders of the old banks are getting wiped out and deposits over 100K and all other secured creditors are getting a significant haircut. I don't know exactly what valuations are being placed on the assets being transferred to the new banks, but they must be closer to market value or the process wouldn't be taking place.

    Those taking the highest risks are taking the losses. And now there is one less country willing to purchase shit assets. Let's hope Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and France are handled the same way.

  • Sevo||

    "Illinois is addicted to the federal Medicaid match, as more than $10 billion of the state’s $17 billion in total Medicaid spending comes from the federal government."
    Helps to have friends in high places.

  • SiliconDoc||

    No worries Obama doesn't throw anyone under under the bus...

  • cw||

    I believe left-leaning states like Illinois will amend their constitutions to eliminate their balanced-budget requirements before they give up on Medicaid expansion. Not that such a move would stem the fiscal bleeding for much longer, but digging deeper into the money hole is the Democrats' first instinct.

  • Sevo||

    "digging deeper into the money hole is the Democrats' first instinct."

    Posted elsewhere, but applicable here:
    "Calif. City Heading to Bankruptcy Court"
    "We spent like the good times would go on forever," said Stockton spokeswoman Connie Cochrane."

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/.....z2OTmXBJfm

  • cw||

    Fuck, dude, aren't these people just a little bit evil? At least as evil as the Wall Street "banksters"?

    It reminds me a little of what might happen here in Montana: The 2013 legislature, which is dominated by Republicans in both houses, failed to pass a bill that would have transformed our state employees' defined-benefit plans to defined-contribution plans. Instead they passed a bill that would keep them as they are but have the workers contribute a tiny amount more. Our state faces a shortfall of nearly $5 billion (which for us is a lot) from these public employee retirement funds. And their unions still bitched about not getting a five percent raise for this year and next. They're incorrigible.

  • Sevo||

    "Fuck, dude, aren't these people just a little bit evil? At least as evil as the Wall Street "banksters"?"
    More so; they're spending stolen money.

  • cw||

    Definitely, I'm just hypothesizing how I might approach a progressive. They think tax money is somehow not stolen because it gets "cleaned" going through the government, I guess. Kinda like money laundering!

  • Baal||

    To vainly attempt to be fair to progressives, what we have in Illinois isn't a cabal of leftists, it's an old fashioned political machine.

  • Sevo||

    Baal| 3.24.13 @ 3:31PM |#
    "To vainly attempt to be fair to progressives, what we have in Illinois isn't a cabal of leftists, it's an old fashioned political machine."

    Distinction without a difference.

  • JWatts||

    From the link:

    Within two years, Stockton had accumulated nearly $1 billion in debt on civic improvements, money owed to pay pension contributions and the most generous health care benefit in the state — coverage for life for all retirees plus a dependent no matter how long they had worked for the city.

    Wow, just wow.

  • Paul.||

    Its unemployment rate is 17.5 percent, and it has the third-highest illiteracy rate in the country.

    They're talking about the financial literacy rate, right?

  • fish_remote||

    I believe left-leaning states like Illinois will amend their constitutions to eliminate their balanced-budget requirements before they give up on Medicaid expansion.

    I look froward to seeing their borrowing costs skyrocket.....hasn't happened yet.....but it will

    Oh yeah....CHRISTFAG!

  • Sevo||

    And
    BOOOOOOOOSH!!!!!

  • cw||

    As Illinois moves Medicaid patients out of the emergency room and into managed care, as required by a 2011 state law, the state will pay less money to hospitals.

    The solution, as always, is to pay those evil health care providers less and expect them to do more! Christ, why are people so fucking stupid? I want to meet a liberal who actually works for less while doing a lot more.

  • C. Anacreon||

    Yes, especially since doctors only account for 10% of health care costs in the USA, they are the natural target for the cuts. Hell, some of them drive Mercedes and have nice houses! Let's knock 'em down a peg. Pay no attention to big pharma or medical devices, or even worse, a hospital reimbursement system that encourages billing $100 for a breakfast of cold runny scrambled eggs, 4-oz container of sugared OJ, and coffee from a 60-gallon tureen.

  • Ted S.||

    Single-payer for lawyers.

    None of them do anything worth more than minimum wage, anyhow.

  • Jon Lester||

    You may be onto something there.

  • SumpTump||

    That jsut doesnt make a lot of sense to me dude.

    www.anoncloak.da.bz

  • Professional Target||

    Liek Nacny Raeagn siad, "Jsut sya on."

  • Sevo||

    I'll bet that took a while to compose. That sort of stupidity doesn't come easy to conscious people.

  • Libertarius||

    I'll ask you not to sully my beloved railroad with analogous references to obummer and obozokare. We work for a living out on the rail, thank you very much.

  • Chadwick||

    If you think Edith`s story is something,, five weeks ago my dad earnt $5937 sitting there a fifteen hour week an their house and their best friend's step-sister`s neighbour was doing this for four months and made over $5937 in there spare time from their laptop. the instructions available here... http://www.wow92.com

  • Almanian!||

    By, "Edith", I assume you mean "Dingbat". Therefore "stifle it" Anon Bot.

  • Not an Economist||

    Do you think this would work for the federal government? They could use the money.

  • JWatts||

    It requires working 15 hours per week.

  • Professional Target||

    Exactly right. They'll never make work.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Whatever happens, the Cyprus story holds important lessons for every economy, including our own: Austerity has failed. So has bank deregulation.

    Oh, for fuck's sake.

  • Libertarius||

    You just don't understand the nuances of Keynesianism. Now the private banks are broke because the government doesn't spend enough, the fact that interest rates have been at 0% for almost 5 years is inconsequential lolz

  • BigT||

    Hamos doesn’t know how much Illinois could save by trimming the Medicaid rolls, in part because an outside auditor has reviewed the accounts for only 20,000 of Illinois’ 2.7 million Medicaid recipients.

    “Of those 20,000 they have recommended to cancel 13,550.”

    So 2/3 are not legit!! But can't possibly cut that Medicaid. No way.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Yes, 2/3rds of the small targeted group the auditor no doubt singled out with some sort of dataset...

    So 13 thou of 2.7 mill are not legit.

    You have to be careful, they word things sideways.

  • buybuydandavis||

    “We haven’t solved the problem of not paying our Medicaid bills,” Hamos said.

    haw haw haw

    Politicians and bureaucrats say the funniest things.

  • ||

    In the end, Math wins.

  • strassnerjordan||

    like Don implied I am dazzled that any one can get paid $7368 in a few weeks on the internet. have you seen this link http://www.fly38.com

  • ||

    "She said Illinois saved $1.1 billion last year, but lawmakers were expecting $1.6 billion in savings" Translation: We spent $500,000,000 more than budgeted. I will never understand how these idiots can project tax revenues and savings for the following year and spend the money like it exists. I guess that is why I do not make the big money.

  • margaretsusen||

    my friend's mother makes $65/hour on the computer. She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her pay was $15949 just working on the computer for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more http://jobsathome.qr.net/kgzE

  • riseboroughandrea||

    my classmate's mother makes $86/hr on the laptop. She has been fired for 6 months but last month her paycheck was $12984 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more here www.fly38.com

  • aaliyahjuhan||

    Tristan. I just agree... Alexander`s blurb is nice, last week I bought themselves a Porsche 911 sincee geting a check for $8987 thiss month and more than ten-grand last month. with-out any question its the most comfortable job I have ever had. I began this 5 months ago and almost straight away began to bring home minimum $81.. p/h. I went to this site,
    http://jump30.com

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