A U.S. judge should order Illinois to pay Medicaid providers about $1 billion a month to ensure medical care continues for the three million recipients of the health program after talks with the state reached an impasse, according to a court filing on Monday.
The move would cause a huge problem for the cash-strapped state, which has accumulated a $15 billion bill backlog due to a budget stalemate between its Republican governor and Democrats who control the legislature. It could force Illinois to stop making full payments on other state-mandated or court-ordered spending such as pensions and payroll.
The filing in U.S. District Court by attorneys representing Medicaid recipients asked Judge Joan Lefkow to order the state to pay $500 million a month for four months to start reducing a $3.1 billion pile of unpaid bills owed to managed care organizations that turn pay doctors and others.
As long as Illinois remains without an enacted budget, the proposed order calls for the state to spend an additional $586 million a month to cover Medicaid-related bills incurred after June 30, 2017.
The proposed order noted that federal reimbursements for Medicaid would reduce Illinois’ outlay to $543 million a month.
Oh, this is so not good. As we’ve already discussed, Illinois will barely have enough cash to make its “core” payments in July and will fall $185 million short of having enough money in August for those payments.
A court hearing is scheduled for
later today tomorrow at 9:45. (For some reason, I keep thinking today is Wednesday. Maybe it’s because we worked over the weekend.) Stay tuned.
The legal motion is here.