Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to reduce Medicaid spending by $1.47 billion in his 2016 budget, and patient advocates worry that the state's $32 million dental care program will be cut. Medicaid dental benefits for low-income adults in Illinois were cut three years ago and restored last year after lawmakers said cutting them had been more costly than keeping them.
An Illinois school district expects to increase participation in its breakfast and lunch programs through the adoption of a universal, free meal program. Officials also expect to cut administrative costs by not requiring low-income families to apply for free and reduced-price meals and bring in as much as $609,000 each year in federal reimbursements.
Low-income families in Illinois that use the LINK card to buy food can buy twice as much produce when they use the card at farmers' markets this summer, said Gov. Pat Quinn. The program's aim is to improve access to nutritious food while supporting the state's farmers, he said.
The Illinois Senate has voted for a bill that would expand Medicaid eligibility, opening the program to as many as 500,000 additional residents. The bill now goes to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who has backed the effort.
The Illinois Senate voted 54-0 Thursday on a bill to regulate hydraulic fracturing in the state. The bill would designate a lead regulatory agency, require chemical disclosure, and mandate testing of cement and casings using in drilling. The bill heads to the state House.