Quinn eyes cuts to Medicaid

Doctors may get reimbursed less from the state

February 13, 2012

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Illinois doctors who agree to treat Medicaid patients will get paid less for doing it under one scenario Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is considering.

It deals with something called "the reimbursement rate."

For example, a dentist might get about $75 for filling a cavity for someone with private insurance. But for a Medicaid patient, the dentist only receives about $30 from the state. That money comes from taxpayers.

Quinn is looking for places to cut the state budget. He presents his ideas to the General Assembly on Feb. 22. The state already faces a backlog of Medicaid bills totaling more than $2 billion.

But if Quinn reduces rates to doctors any further, fewer doctors will agree to take Medicaid patients, according to Wayne Polek, president of the state Medical Society.

"The reimbursement for Medicaid is less than what it takes for us to provide that service. It winds up really being charity care and there's only so much charity care you can do to keep your doors open," he said.