Before Departing, Blago Approved Medicaid Funding for Kids’ Care
In a final act, Rod Blagojevich, the crazy ex-governor of Illinois, approved an increase in the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rates to pediatricians who provide critical care services. Today’s Chicago Tribune, which has the story (or at least some of it), reports that the governor’s last-minute decision did not need a legislative nod. The percentage increase in Medicaid reimbursement was evidently not revealed by state officials.
Among the many charges in the federal complaint against Blagojevich—which led to his bizarre and unprecedented impeachment—is the allegation that he tried to squeeze the CEO of Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Patrick Magoon, for a $50,000 contribution last November. In exchange, the governor would approve $8 million in state funds, as urged by a pediatric healthcare initiative, We Care for Illinois Kids, a coalition that promotes increased reimbursement rates for specialized pediatric care.
The coalition supports Illinois HB5331, which stipulates that physician fee rates for the All Kids Insurance Program (the state’s Medicaid program for children) must increase to competitive levels. Currently pediatric specialists in Illinois received only 33 cents for every dollar spent on Medicaid patients, one of the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the country. The Children’s Hospital of Chicago is the state’s largest provider of inpatient, outpatient, and physician Medicaid services.
Despite Blago’s final attempt to increase pediatric Medicaid funding, which is to be reviewed by the current governor—the bland but, god willing, semi-ethical Pat Quinn—the funds are “nowhere near” enough, according to an involved lawmaker who was cited by the Trib.