Illinois Medicaid

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An expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is one step closer in Illinois. The state Senate passed the expansion 40 - 19 yesterday. The bill now goes to the House.

Nearly 2.8 million Illinois residents are currently covered by Medicaid, the government health program for the poor and disabled. And starting in 2014, an estimated 600,000 uninsured Illinois residents would be newly eligible for coverage. The expansion would mainly benefit low-income adults who don't have children at home.

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Illinois officials say savings from cuts to the state's Medicaid program have fallen short by $464 million. That’s about 30 percent of the expected $1.6 billion in cuts to the health program for the poor.

Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos says nearly half the gap is because of a delay in implementing a program to check Medicaid recipients' eligibility. The federal government also denied permission to carry out some planned cuts.