Illinois hospitals are facing changes and challenges, what with the recently signed Medicaid adjustments in Illinois, and with the possible repeal of the federal Affordable Care Act.

“The general sentiment is that it will either be 5-4 negative, or 6-3 positive,” says Maryjane Wurth, president of the Illinois Hospital Association, in trying to handicap the upcoming vote. “But no one really knows.”

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Wurth says hospitals must embrace the changes the state has placed on Medicaid reimbursements and eligibility, even though some are distasteful. She suggested that during the construction of the legislation, an awful lot of people wanted to make their voices heard with well-intentioned ideas, no matter how ill-fitting they were: “We were laughing about it being Whack-a-Mole,” she told a conference of administrators from small and rural hospitals. “Every single person and every single deputy behind these people would, in essence, come up with a great idea as another way to save money without understanding the complexity, without understanding the consequences.”

The package, intended to fill a $2.7 billion hole, cuts services to many people. Among other things, it eliminates the Illinois Cares Rx program and raises the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio/