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Illinois Medicaid Cuts: Lawmakers Strain To Identify $2.7 Billion In Savings

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In this photo taken May 18, 2011, members of the the Health Care Council of Illinois use wheelchairs to deliver to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, "stop sign" petitions signed by thousands of seniors and supporters who are strongly opposed to the Governor's proposed 6 percent cuts in Medicaid funding at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. Illinois is on the verge of making deep cuts to the Medicaid budget, meaning doctors and hospitals may wait three or four times longer to be paid and poor | AP

CHICAGO -- As state leaders push for a prompt agreement on where to cut a breathtaking $2.7 billion from Illinois' Medicaid program, the two Republicans and two Democrats designated to come up with a deal are confronting fundamental differences, including over a proposal to resurrect a cigarette tax increase as a way to soften the blow.

While a final list of cuts hasn't been determined, coming into focus are possible points of agreement on reductions in spending for the health insurance program for nearly 3 million poor and disabled Illinois residents, according to interviews with committee members and committee background materials obtained by The Associated Press.

Read the whole story at Rockford Register Star