SPRINGFIELD -- Top Republicans Monday criticized Gov. Pat Quinn for not yet taking away state health care help from people who are ineligible, but the governor's office says that process is well under way.
Part of major cuts to the state's Medicaid program approved by lawmakers this year is no longer giving state services to people who no longer live in Illinois or make too much money to qualify for state health care for the poor.
The Chicago suburbs have seen a spike in Medicaid use over the past six years that has outpaced most of the rest of the state, and the Quinn administration last week hired on a company to start determining who should no longer get state help.
"In some cases this will result in people being identified as no longer eligible, in some cases the process will help people maintain benefits if they are eligible, but, in all cases, it will improve our confidence that the correct determination is being made," Department of Healthcare and Family Services spokesman Mike Claffey said in an email.
He said the effort will be ready to go by Jan. 1.
House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego and Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont met with reporters in Springfield Monday to say that's not soon enough because the state budget depends on savings from people being taken off the Medicaid program.
Cross even suggested Quinn's delays could be political, putting off the cuts until after the Nov. 6 election. Quinn's office sharply denied that idea.
"What else could be the reason?" Cross said.