Illinois safety-net hospitals face double jeopardy: 5 quick points

Illinois hospitals may face significant financial challenges in the near future amid potential state and federal Medicaid funding cuts.

Here are five things to know.

1. Illinois contains 40 safety-net hospitals, representing about 19 percent of all hospitals in the state, according to data from the Illinois Health and Hospital Association. These hospitals are a crucial source of medical care for the state's low-income, uninsured and vulnerable populations, according to IHA.

2. At a state level, Illinois hospitals that rely on Medicaid dollars are at significant risk as Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, a fiscal conservative and spending hawk, seeks to reduce Medicaid spending and discontinue some projects put in place by his predecessor. In February, Mr. Rauner announced a major overhaul of the state's Medicaid program that would expand managed care programs to 80 percent of the more than 200,000 Illinois Medicaid beneficiaries, reports Chicago Tribune.

3. Illinois on Monday released a list of payers that submitted proposals to participate in the state's revamped Medicaid managed care program. Four of the 12 payers participating in the current program did not submit a proposal: Family Health Network, Humana, Cigna-HealthSpring and Community Care Alliance of Illinois, according to a more recent Chicago Tribune report. While nine insurers submitted proposals, Mr. Rauner intends to limit the program to seven.

4. At a federal level, the American Health Care Act would experiment aggressively with Medicaid, change how government spends money on Medicaid and reduce payments to states. The bill seeks to phase out Medicaid expansion by sunsetting the option for states to expand Medicaid to adults who sit 133 percent above the federal poverty line and limiting enhanced funding for states choosing to expand Medicaid after March 2017.

5. For Illinois hospitals that see a great deal of Medicaid patients, the combination of these two efforts could be recasting.

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