McSweeney argues cost of Obamacare is crushing lllinois

By Tricia Erickson

July 18, 2017 

Lake County News Gazette

Unless the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed or replaced, it will continue to wreak havoc on Illinois' financial situation, even with the state's new budget, Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) told a House Revenue and Finance Committee during a recent hearing.

According to the Illinois Policy Institute, making matters worse is a federal judge's ruling at the end of June that determined that Illinois must do better with its Medicaid payments to get rid of its $1 billion debt to doctors and hospitals. The state must now pay $376 million a month – up $83 million after the ruling. 

More than 25 percent of Illinoisans are covered by Medicaid after the enactment of Obamacare, costing the state $5.4 billion – more than double what than it paid in 2000.   

The judge's ruling came just days before Illinois realized its first full budget in two years. 

During the hearing, McSweeney said the ACA will continue to have an “enormous impact” on the state budget, and he called for Illinois' Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA) to conduct an analysis on the emerging ACA replacement legislation to see how it would effect the state’s budget. 

It might already be too late for that, though, as the most recent GOP plan to replace Obamacare appears to be dead after several Republicans announced their opposition. 

Dan Long, executive director for the CGFA, also said that an in-depth analysis would be difficult due to the massive nature of the program and lack of data.

The policy institute warned that the high cost of health coverage is not an excuse for more taxes.

"Tax hike proponents will be sure to point to the Medicaid ruling as proof that the state needs more money, and the only way to fix the budget – and now cash-flow – crisis is to enact proposed multibillion-dollar tax hikes," the group posted on its website. "But the truth is the court ruling confirms the need for dramatic reforms in how the government spends. Unreformed Medicaid and government-sector compensation have continuously stripped core government services of funding for more than 15 years."

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