Patch Flash: Quinn Wants to Tax Smokers $1 More Per Pack

Governor proposes deep cuts to Medicaid program and medical providers.


Governor Pat Quinn outlined his proposal on Thursday to deal with the $2.7 billion deficit in the state’s health care program.

 Quinn’s plan includes a $1 per pack increase in the Illinois’ cigarette tax, extensive program cuts, and a major reduction in payments to medical providers, according to the State Journal Register.

 Quinn’s plan would cut nearly $1.4 billion from Medicaid programs themselves. About 215,000 people would lose benefits entirely, including 180,000 seniors who participate in Illinois Cares Rx, a prescription drug assistance program for low-income elderly, according to the State Jounral Register. 

"If we don't do this, the whole system will collapse," Quinn said, adding later, "It'll be broke. It'll be bankrupt,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Tribune reports that Quinn will face tough resistance to cutting health care benefits and passing a cigarette tax will be difficult. In recent years the Senate has passed a cigarette tax hike twice, but the legislation was stalled in the house. 

The Illinois Hospital Association said the proposed rate reductions are too drastic, according to the State Journal Register. “The proposal is still too drastic and too rash to impose on the state’s already fragile health care system,” the IHA said in a statement. 

Quinn's plan to slash about $2 billion in Medicaid spending is earning cautious praise from some experts, despite questions about whether the cuts would shift the costs of treating the poor to hospitals, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

"I would say they've really tried to focus on services where they're going to do the least amount of harm," said Robert Kaestner, a health-care economist with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.

Even if half of the proposals were implemented, it would be a good start for the state, Kaestner told Crain’s.

Stuart Tindall April 22, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Sorry you were too stupid to negotiate awesome benefits in your career Carl. Have fun working till you're 80!
McCloud April 22, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Jack sounds like the typical liberal, mouth moving with nothing to say except divisive references about race. By corporate shill I'm thinking he must be confused, as the teacher's union elected Madigan and Quinn, follow the money trail in case this is news to you.
Sully April 22, 2012 at 06:40 PM
You're wasting your breath, Jack. They don't get it. They are so certain of their beliefs, it doesn't really matter how they are affected by the corporate government. It's perfectly okay that Mitt payed less in taxes than they may have because that's the free market. They don't seem to realize that when taxes are reduced for others, they have to make up for it.
McCloud April 22, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Actually Mitt payed too much of his income on taxes, as his income was mostly based on investment income and 15% is way too much. You see, folks who make investments lose their money more times than not. So if you place an additional burden of tax on the risk, they take their money and go home. Then we get guys getting paid to move sand piles from one side of the road to the other, and Obama calls it stimulus.
Lennie Jarratt April 22, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Like @Carl said, it's the Democrats that keep voting Madigan in. THe money the union leaders dump into his race and other Dem races to keep control over this state is why we are broke. The union rank and file should be really ticked at how bad they have been treated by the Dems and their Union Leaders who have been taking their money and destroying their very jobs. @Jack, absolutely follow the money and you'll see it leads directly to Madigan, Quinn and the Union Bosses.


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