Federal judge to rule on $2B owed to Illinois Medicaid patients, providers

FOX 32 NEWS - Failing to pass a budget for three years is catching up with the state.

A federal judge says she may rule Wednesday on a case that could clear all the cash out of the Illinois State Treasury. 

Not only have Gov. Rauner and top Democrats failed to pay the basic bills of Illinois government, they're recklessly spending seven billion dollars a year -- more than the state collects. Federal judge Joan Lefkow called it "an insolvency situation."

She’s preparing to rule on $2 billion owed to Medicaid patients and providers that many doctors can no longer afford to treat.

“Poor people and normal citizens of Illinois should not suffer because these folks cannot come to a budget deal,” attorney Thomas Yates said.

There’s no deal in sight. While Democrats run ads quoting Rauner on how he would use a crisis, the governor said that's the game they are playing.

“They want chaos. They want mayhem. They’re happy to hurt whoever they need to hurt. Because -- and now they're being honest again. I think it was the senate president who came out and said, ‘you know what? The governor can't be re-elected unless there's a budget,’” Rauner said.

Gov. Rauner insists new revenues would pour in, if only the general assembly adopted his pro-business reforms to create jobs.

Until then, comptroller Susana Mendoza says there's not enough money in the treasury to pay Medicaid providers. The cash was grabbed by other court orders and by mandated payments, including $7.1 billion to public employee pension funds.

Lawyers for Medicaid patients suggested the state stop making full payments to public employee pension funds. Treating pension funds as piggy banks helped create the current mess.

A state government website reports that unpaid bills totaled $14.7 billion as of Monday. That’s about 45 percent of the revenue the state expects to collect this year.

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