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As Cash Flow Tightens, Medicaid Ruling Looms

flickr/ TaxCredits.net

A court hearing scheduled for Tuesday has the potential to shake up Illinois' already-precarious financial situation. Organizations that run the state’s Medicaid program are asking a judge to speed up their payments.

There are a lot people and organizations in line to be paid by state government. The Medicaid providers are asking a federal judge to put them at the front of it.

The thing is, Illinois spends a lot on Medicaid. Comptroller Susana Mendoza says letting those groups cut in line means Illinois would soon run out of money.

"We'll have to go to the courts and ask them: 'OK, out of all of these court-mandated payments, which ones am I allowed to violate?'" Mendoza says.

That could jeopardize things like paychecks for state workers.

The Medicaid providers say that argument shows Illinois is not making their payments a priority.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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