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updated: 2/15/2012 5:24 PM

Senate panel discusses Medicaid, unpaid bills

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Associated Press

Medicaid and the Illinois' massive backlog of unpaid bills are among top issues a state Senate panel has discussed days before Gov Pat Quinn gives his budget address.

Democratic state Sens. Heather Steans of Chicago and Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge led the panel in Chicago Wednesday in an effort to get a snapshot of Illinois' finances.

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Quinn's budget address takes place Feb. 22.

The Democrat has said he wants to cut $2 billion from the state's approximately $14 billion Medicaid budget, but he's given no details on how. Also, the backlog of unpaid Medicaid bills is expected to reach $1.8 billion by fiscal year's end.

Steans says she's a member of a recently formed bipartisan committee focusing on Medicaid reform. She says the group will look at several options, including reducing eligibility.

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