The state of Illinois announced this week that they will be paying off approximately $9 billion in overdue Medicaid bills, as well as other outstanding healthcare related bills.
Comptroller’s Office Authorizes Overdue Payout
The considerable payout, announced by the Comptroller’s office, still does not bring the State of Illinois to a place where they are current with their bills for medical providers, and Illinois is borrowing money in order to make the payments to healthcare providers.
This summer, a federal judge ordered that the Illinois Comptroller’s office, who is responsible to pay the State’s bills, negotiate with Medicaid providers in the State to ensure that the approximately $16 billion shortfall is collected, with the intention to pay healthcare providers.
In particular it was noted that the Comptroller’s office has made payments to the State’s payroll and pension programs in full, while it has lagged behind in healthcare reimbursements.
State Budget Headaches
This issue has been a longtime irritation and concern for healthcare providers and state workers in Illinois. The State of Illinois did not have a budget in place for two consecutive years, which has caused Illinois to freeze payments because the State indicates they do not have authorization through a current State budget to make those payments.
In response, healthcare facilities have had to lay off staff, put off expansions and cut services, while state workers have been responsible in some cases to pay their care out of pocket, while waiting for the State to reimburse them at an undetermined future date.
After this disbursement, the state of Illinois will still have a backlog of approximately $7 billion, with no clear pathway announced by the State to paying those outstanding bills to hospitals and doctor’s offices.