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Lamenting Medicaid cuts in Illinois

By Dr. Kohar Jones
.

The SCOTUS ruling saved the principle of universal health insurance, while seriously undermining an important way to reach a vulnerable population--young men of a certain age with limited means--the potential recipients of an envisioned mandatory Medicaid expansion that would be funded through federal dollars.  States can choose whether or not to take that money and expand Medicaid.  And states can choose what to cover with Medicaid.

Illinois is busy cutting back Medicaid, even as it scrambles to get insurance exchanges ready (thank you, federal government, for helping out that first year) for the mandatory expansion of health care coverage.

As a state, we are over eight billion dollars in the red.  And so we are cutting Medicaid by an estimated 1.6 billion dollars. Co-pays go up, eligibility goes down, only 4 prescriptions each month are covered. And if you have cavities? No help until your teeth need to be yanked.

How will we leverage Medicaid as a tool for the expansion of health care to all, if Medicaid is being decimated by state budget cuts?

There are 50 states in our great nation, with 50 separate Medicaid programs.  Who will be covered? And how?  And what will this mean for
the future of our nation's first attempt to move toward universal health care coverage?

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