Illinois Senate Republicans are backing the right-leaning Illinois Policy Institute in what they are calling a plan to close the $2.7 billion Medicaid budget gap. They say the plan, “Medicaid 59,” is meant as a cure, not just a treatment of symptoms. The 59-point plan includes more use of generic drugs and a focus on home health care.
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State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon), appearing with institute leaders at a Capitol news conference Monday, said, “Why would we enable the poor in this state … to be enslaved to an entitlement system with no checks and balances with no accountability?” State Sen. Sam McCann (R-Carlinville, pictured) said the social safety net should be a trampoline that gets people back onto their feet, as opposed to a hammock in which people are forever comfortable. State Sen. Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) said the Democrats’ solution of raising the state’s income tax in the January 2011 lame duck session did not help; it’s time, he said, to try something else.