Federal judge orders IL to pay half-billion monthly in Medicaid bills

Federal judge orders IL to pay half-billion monthly in Medicaid bills

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - While lawmakers are getting closer to the ending of a historic budget standoff in Illinois, there are still a few hurdles ahead of them.

Despite the state owing $15 billion in unpaid bills, a federal judge has ordered Illinois to pay $586 million a month to its Medicaid bills. This could mean funding for other priority programs cut.

Kate Swartzel worked for 36 years and then became disabled, so she receives Medicare and Medicaid assistance.

"I'm diabetic, it's important for me to be able to access my medication – it's life-threatening if I don't," Swartzel said. "Medicaid also picks up part of my fee for Part D for my medication. Which I am grateful for because I couldn't have afford to pay for it out of pocket."

Swartzel explained how vital that assistance has been.  "It's imperative, it's life threatening if they don't have access to it, so it's very very important"

A federal judge last week has order the state of Illinois to pay more than a half a billion dollars a month for its Medicaid bills.

Swartzel explained, "It's important to me that Medicaid be available to those who are eligible and who are in need."

But, Illinois Comptroller, Susana Mendoza said this is not good for Illinois' finances:

"Friday's ruling by the U.S. District Court takes the state's finances from horrific to catastrophic. Payments to the state's pension funds; state payroll including legislator pay; General State Aid to schools and payments to local governments – in some combination – will likely have to be cut."

While this budget battle continues there are still many unanswered questions.

"We all need to as a society say it's time for these people to work together and to create something that works for everyone and not just the way certain people want it," Swartzel said.

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