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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House has approved budget cuts that would slash health care for hundreds of thousands of people around the state.
It would cut Medicaid services by roughly $1.3 billion. That includes ending a prescription drug program for some senior citizens, halting insurance for about 35,000 adults and restricting access to a vast array of services.
The legislation also reduces payments to hospitals and nursing homes by about $240 million.
The cuts were approved 94-22. The measure now goes to the state Senate.
About 2.7 million people in Illinois use the Medicaid program. Opponents say the cuts mean some of those people will die because they no longer get medicine or preventive care.
Illinois residents are reacting to the House vote. The measure approved Thursday would eliminate a program that helps nearly 200,000 seniors pay for prescription drugs.
Retired Evanston resident Martha McDonald says that would hurt seniors. She takes five prescription medications and pays less than $15 a month for them because of the program.
She says she still honors imprisoned former governor Rod Blagojevich because he started the program. Lawmakers hope to save more than $72 million a year by ending it.
Others are relieved by what the measure doesn’t include. A Chicago clinic director says he’s pleased the bill doesn’t cut coverage for undocumented children. Daniel Fulwiler estimates Centro de Salud Esperanza treats hundreds of undocumented children who are covered by state dollars.
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