Federal judge set to rule on Illinois payments to Medicaid - KMOV.com

Federal judge set to rule on Illinois payments to Medicaid

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CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge says she'll decide soon whether to order Illinois to pay health-care bills for law-income and other groups even as the state heads into another fiscal year without a budget.

Judge Joan Lefkow (LEF'-koh) said during a Tuesday morning hearing in Chicago that she'd deliberate on the question of forcing Medicaid payments and post a ruling in the civil case later the same day.

Lawyers for the state say any such order could make it even harder to grapple with a backlog of unpaid bills of more than $14 billion and rising.

"The money's not there," says republican State Representative Charlie Meier of Okawville.

But advocates for low-income families and others who rely on Medicaid say an order would help clarify that payments to health-care providers should be as high or a higher priority than other payments, including state salaries.

"What we're heading for is vendors losing complete confidence in the state." says democratic State Senator Bill Haine of Alton.

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