SPRINGFIELD — While Illinois lawmakers remain frozen over what to do about the state's gargantuan pension debt, leaders in the statehouse are moving swiftly on Illinois' other public employee promise — health care.
Illinois has more than $1.5 billion in unpaid health care bills for state employees, university workers, lawmakers and their families dating back nearly a year.
"For all four programs … it's about $1.6 billion," Marsha Armstrong a benefit expert from Illinois' main bureaucratic agency, Central Management Services, told lawmakers Tuesday.
Illinois did not pay what it owes doctors, hospitals and pharmacists for employee health-care claims for the same reason the state did not pay nearly $7 billion in other bills. Illinois does not have the money.