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Illinois seniors to feel effects of state cuts to Medicaid

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Illinois seniors to feel effects of state cuts to Medicaid

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services estimates eliminating the Care Rx program will save Illinois more than $72 million.

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Some Illinois seniors could start feeling the effects of new cuts to the state’s Medicaid program.

State money to fund Illinois Care Rx, which helped subsidize prescriptions drugs, is set to run out July 1. That means about 180,000 low-income seniors will pay, on average, an extra $400 per year for prescription drugs, according to the American Association of Retired Persons.

Mary-Therese Ring of DesPlaines says the program helped pay for her nine prescriptions. She says she’s not sure what she will do without it.

“I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s frightening. That’s all I can tell you. It’s really frightening,” Ring said.

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services estimates elimination of the program will save Illinois more than $72 million.

In a statement, Mike Claffey, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, said the Illinois Care Rx program was a “fully state-funded, optional state program and it received no federal matching funds.”

“Illinois has been faced with a historic fiscal crisis that threatens the solvency of our state. The status quo was not an option. The Illinois Medicaid system was on the brink of collapse,” Claffey said in the statement.

Illinois Care Rx is part of the state’s larger Circuit Breaker program. The state general assembly did not allocate any funds to the Circuit Breaker program during the spring legislative funding. A 40-year-old property tax relief program for senior citizens and the disabled, which was also part of the broader Circuit Breaker program, was also eliminated.

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