To many Illinoisans, the state's $13 billion budget deficit can seem like an abstraction, a big number with little direct impact on daily life.
But for Ashley Wright of Carterville, Illinois, and for her four-month-old son Noah, the effects are all too immediate.
The Wrights' pediatrician refused to give Noah the immunizations he needs because Ashley's state-provided health insurance simply isn't paying out, according to a WSIL report.
(Scroll down to watch the interview with Ashley and her family.)
Like many states across the country, Illinois is suffering from a massive budget shortfall due to the prolonged economic recession. The state government is currently wrangling over a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, set to include spending cuts, increased borrowing and perhaps a tax increase.
But for now, the state is staying afloat by non-payment of a number of its bills. Insurance policies, like the one Ashley gets from her employer, Southern Illinois University, are one area where the state is delaying payment.
As a result, doctors are reluctant to provide care to patients with state-funded insurance policies, realizing that they won't be paid for their work.
Some doctors ask state employees to pay out of pocket, up front, to be reimbursed later.
The state's "explanation of benefits" documents, that once said reimbursement would come in four to eight weeks -- now say "as state funds become available." The state is only now paying bills almost ten months old, with no telling how long it will be before it can get to claims filed today.
Meanwhile, Noah can't go to day care without his immunizations, so his mother will have to scramble to find the shots elsewhere.
And she's still paying for her insurance.
Watch WSIL-TV's coverage of Ashley's story: