Ideas to change Medicaid in Illinois are coming from more than just the governor and lawmakers. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is weighing in. A Medicaid working group organized by the chamber says the state should purge the rolls of up to 300,000 people who no longer qualify. And the group’s leader says the big picture should be about changing the program itself rather than simply making cuts.
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“Our biggest concern, always, is the impact that this could have long-term … on the employer community and the public and private health system,” said Laura Minzer, the chamber’s healthcare council executive director. “There needs to be some structural re-design and efficiencies in there that aren’t necessarily tied directly with budget lines.” Minzer says the changes her group is discussing do not add up to $2.7 billion – the total the governor says must be made up – at the outset. She estimates the list her group put out accounts for perhaps $600 million, adding the chamber is opposed to the governor’s proposed cigarette tax increase – an increase the governor says qualifies for federal matching money.