By now, you've probably read the Institute's alternate vision for Illinois. Our plan would return $7 billion to taxpayers, grow the economy and put us back on the path to prosperity.
Fundamentally restructuring the state's Medicaid program is a key part of that plan. Despite record levels of spending, the current Medicaid program is failing the state’s most vulnerable populations. Low reimbursement rates and long payment delays force many doctors to take few or no Medicaid patients, leaving the poorest among us with few options to get care. When they're able to get care at all, they frequently suffer worse outcomes than both privately insured and uninsured patients.
Our plan would rededicate the program those that need it most. We would empower the poor to make healthy and cost-conscious decisions, help them buy private insurance and phase out this help gradually so that they aren't trapped into a system of government dependency.
So I'm pleased to see that members of Congress have introduced a bill to give states like Illinois the flexibility they so desperately need to reform and restructure Medicaid. Instead of imposing a one-size-fits-all model and complex funding formulas on every state, the State Health Flexibility Act would block grant Medicaid funding and give states complete freedom in designing health care programs for their neediest citizens. States would truly be laboratories of innovation, taking ideas from one another and tailoring them to meet the unique needs of their people. They would have the freedom to design a system that works best for their neediest citizens, not one that works best for the bureaucrats in Washington.