04/16/2012 11:34 am ET

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

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.

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