The restructuring of Medicaid

By WEEK Producer

June 14, 2012 Updated Jun 14, 2012 at 6:51 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- Governor Pat Quinn signed major legislation Thursday designed to restructure and save the state's Medicaid system from collapsing.

The five bills contain more than $ 1.5 billion in cuts by targeting fraud and abuse in the medicaid program and reduces rates for providers.

Heartland Community Clinic CEO Farrell Davies said the state's medicaid restructuring package will result in medicaid patients being charged a co-payment. She thinks that could mean fewer visits to the clinic for them.

"This is going to actually cause some people to come in less often and to use the emergency department more and to not do those preventative care things that really keep them out of the hospital," said Davies.

Medicaid restructuring package contains more than $1.5 billion in cuts, targets fraud and abuse in the medicaid program, and reduce rates for providers. It also raises the price of cigarettes a dollar a pack.

During a visit to Peoria Thursday, Governor Pat Quinn told reporters the package will result in more efficiencies and hopefully healthier residents.

"Our medicaid system spends over one and a half billion each year on tobacco related diseases, so if we can reduce the number of young people smoking that'll help save money for the taxpayers," said Quinn.

During his budget address earlier this year, Quinn said the Medicaid program faced a $2.7 billion deficit and warned that the pile of unpaid reimbursement bills would grow even higher.

Davies said in the long run, healthcare could become more expensive if clinic patients don't practice preventative care.

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