Healthcare workers fight for funding

Illinois Capitol News

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Healthcare workers returned to the Capitol Tuesday to fight for better funding.

Billions in Medicaid funding are on the line and hospital officials in low-income areas say they’re not getting their fair share. It was a big issue a few weeks ago.

Tuesday’s hearing ended on a better note than the first one. Things got tense at the previous session because the original plan was set to cut millions from hospitals in low-income areas.

This time, an arguably better deal was put on the table. The plan is a bipartisan effort. Changes would funnel more money back to safety-net hospitals, but some say it’s not enough.

Some hospitals would still lose Medicaid dollars, which in some cases, could result in hospital closures.

Lawmakers say it’s because the most recent data they can use is from 2015. Some argue the data is inaccurate.

There wasn’t a vote on the bill Tuesday. Lawmakers say they’ll continue working on a solution to protect the most vulnerable.

Safety-net hospitals make up one-fifth of hospitals in the state. On average, almost half of their funding comes from Medicaid dollars.

Roughly $36 billion in Medicaid money is up for grabs. Lawmakers must pass a plan by July, otherwise, they could lose out on federal funds.

If a solution is found in time, one lawmaker drafted legislation to return funding amounts to normal. That way, no hospitals would lose money.

Almost one-fifth of the Illinois Hospital Association is safety-net hospitals. At the hearing, leaders said they’ll continue working with lawmakers to find a solution.

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