Republican lawmakers in Illinois say they are impatient with the state’s implementation of changes to the Medicaid program. One of the legislators who worked on the plans, Sen. Dale Righter (R-Charleston) is indignant. “We are very disappointed in the pace at which Gov. (Pat) Quinn and his people have decided to try and implement the reforms which are necessary to save the Medicaid program,” he said at a news conference Monday in Springfield.
Righter, joined by House and Senate Republican leaders, said the governor is, through incompetence or political motivation, simply dragging his feet on implementing such changes as purging the Medicaid rolls of 300,000 ineligible people.
“Complaints about this taking too long are completely false,” said Mike Claffey, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. “We completed the procurement of an eligibility verification vendor very quickly; well within the time frame that was mandated” by the new law.
Righter and the minority leaders, Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego) in the House and Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) in the Senate, say they are incredulous that it should take as long as it has to put the changes into place, seeing as how the governor asked for them during his February budget message. “There’s still a tremendous amount of work we need to do,” says Claffey, “and you can’t just snap your fingers” to make it happen.