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Illinois Representatives United in Demanding Senate Action

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross are continuing their efforts to sound the alarm about the mounting budget pressures facing Illinois taxpayers due to the duel threat of expanding Medicaid costs and the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Schock and Cross have spearheaded a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitchell McConnell, signed by ten Illinois Congressional Republicans and all 54 Illinois State Republican Representatives, demanding that the US Senate follow the actions taken in the House in repealing the Medicaid Maintenance of Effort (MOE) mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

In the letter to the Senate leadership today, the group urged immediate Senate consideration of H.R. 5652 saying, "If signed into law, this legislation would give Illinois the flexibility it needs to move forward with the implementation of income verification requirements that are allowed under state law, but are currently impossible under federal law. The state legislation adopted income verification requirements, on a bipartisan basis, as a way to reduce fraud in an overburdened system. Repealing the Medicaid MOE requirement allows the State of Illinois to proceed with this important program integrity measure."

In a joint statement last week, Congressman Schock and Leader Cross first called upon the Senate to act, "We are calling on the Senate to immediately follow the actions taken by the House and repeal the MOE requirement. The hardworking taxpayers of Illinois cannot wait for the notoriously idle Senate to delay action. We urge Senate leadership to bring this to a vote without delay."

The Illinois Representatives end their letter urging the Senate to act and repeal the Medicaid MOE to "give Illinois' governor and state legislature added flexibility as they consider ways to close the $2.7 billion hole in the state's Medicaid system."

By the Numbers: Medicaid Expansion Cost to the State of Illinois:
The Affordable Care Act covers the cost of NEW eligible Medicaid enrollees as a result of the law 100% until 2017, and then federal coverage begins to drop. As a result this will cost the state of Illinois $1.3 billion. The cost will only continue to grow after 2020.

Medicaid Expansion for newly eligible individuals
2014-2016 = 100% federal funding (0% IL costs)
2017 = 95% federal/ 5% IL
2018 = 94% federal/ 6% IL
2019 = 93% federal/7% IL
2020 and beyond = 90% federal/ 10% IL
(households with incomes up to 133% of Federal Poverty Level)


Under current law, there is a Maintenance of Effort requirement (MOE) in place whereby a state is prohibited from having eligibility standards, methodologies, or procedures under its state Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) plans that are more restrictive than those in effect on March 23, 2010, the date of enactment of Obamacare. This MOE is a significant barrier for states trying to better manage their Medicaid and CHIP programs -- especially for those states wanting to implement program integrity measures that would ensure proper eligibility verification.

In 2011, for example, inadequate eligibility review cost the taxpayers approximately $15 billion in improper payments under the Medicaid program. This proposal by the Energy & Commerce Committee would repeal the maintenance of effort on states for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as mandated by Obamacare. The repeal of the MOE merely allows states the same operational flexibility they have exercised since the beginnings of the Medicaid and CHIP programs. CBO has estimated that this proposal would save approximately $600 million over ten years.

Last week after the House voted to repeal MOE requirement, Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross issued a joint statement calling on the US Senate to join the House in passing legislation.

In April, Congressman Aaron Schock and Leader Tom Cross embarked on a state wide tour to call attention to the mounting budget pressures facing Illinois taxpayers on the duel threats of expanding Medicaid costs and the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act. In February, Governor Pat Quinn unveiled his FY 13 budget plan calling for a $2.7 billion reduction in Medicaid spending. However, the Quinn Administration has yet to secure the federal waiver needed to implement cost-saving reforms enacted last year that would require proof of income verification for all Medicaid applicants.

This failure to act comes with a big price tag as the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare is projected to have an unmanageable impact on Illinois' already weak budget. In January 2012, the Civic Federation, based in Chicago, warned Illinois will face a $34.8 billion backlog of unpaid bills if no action is taken to reform Medicaid. Using the Department of Healthcare and Family Services' own projections, Medicaid will increase by more than 40% over the next five years (from $8.6 billion to $12.1 billion). Unless reforms are enacted, the Medicaid backlog will grow to $21 billion within five years.

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