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posted: 5/7/2012 10:32 AM

Behind the rhetoric on Ill. health care, pensions

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  • Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn

    Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn
    Associated Press

Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Pat Quinn recently lit a fire under the simmering questions of what Illinois will do about climbing pension and Medicaid costs.

He proposed cuts in both and warned inaction could mean financial disaster.

Quinn says the cost of providing health care for 2.7 million Illinoisans is climbing so fast the state can't keep up. Bills are going unpaid, and the system will collapse unless something is done.

He proposed cutting services, reducing provider payments and raising cigarette taxes to fill a $2.7 billion hole.

The issues raises questions, like: Could Medicaid really "collapse" if the system isn't reformed?

The Civic Federation's head says it could. He says it would mean doctors refusing to accept Medicaid patients, hospitals closing because of unpaid bills and poor people going without care.

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