Gov. Pat Quinn says one way to save the Medicaid system is to cut a prescription drug plan. A proposal in the Senate would eliminate the Illinois Cares Rx program, which helps 200,000 senior citizens get prescription drugs. It’s a move that the AARP is against. The AARP contends that ending the program would actually cost the state in the long run, as seniors end up going to the hospital to get drugs.
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Quinn says that’s not the case. “I don’t agree with that. I think we have a reasonable plan for access to prescription medicines that everyone needs, whatever their age might be,” Quinn said. Eliminating the program would save $107 million. Illinois Cares Rx is a prescription drug program that supplements coverage for seniors in Medicare Part D. Seniors in the program don’t qualify for Medicaid because their income levels exceed federal limits. The Civic Federation has long endorsed ending the program because it is not federally reimbursed. At least two lawmakers in the House say if the program is cut they would introduce legislation to reinstate it.