(The Center Square) – The bipartisan Legislative Audit Commission is tasking the Illinois auditor general to get to the bottom of the taxpayer costs of the state’s subsidies for non-citizen health care.
In 2020, Illinois taxpayers began subsidizing health care coverage of enrolled non-citizens over the age of 65. In 2021, the state expanded that to include enrolled non-citizens over the age of 42.
Before the beginning of the fiscal year that started July 1, projected taxpayer costs for the programs exceeded $1 billion.
“The report revealed that the actual costs and the number of enrollees significantly exceeded estimates,” said state Rep. Amy Elik, R-Alton.
During the LAC’s hearing this week in Springfield, Elik advanced an audit resolution with bipartisan support to investigate the overall taxpayer costs.
“Since these Medicaid programs spend a significant amount of state dollars and are not always eligible for the federal match, and we’ve seen the program be limited this year because of ballooning costs,” Elik said.
Despite Gov. J.B. Pritzker suspending enrollees over the age of 42 at the beginning of the fiscal year to shore up costs, the program is projected to cost $831.6 million, about $280 million more than what is budgeted. The number of enrollees over the age of 42 total more than 69,000.
Elik said they need to get to the bottom of the program’s costs.
“The General Assembly really can’t make responsible budget decisions without having accurate information about the cost of the program,” Elik said. “So the audit will ensure that we know how the audits are being made and provide transparency on the costs that are being incurred.”
State Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates, said the audit is justified because of “the sheer dollar amount to the program.”
Auditor General Frank Mautino said they already ran the draft resolution through the director of their performance division “just to make sure that the items that they are asking for in there are doable and within the scope of our operations as well.”
“We take no position on the merits but we want to make sure that we get the commission the information that they want in a usable form,” Mautino said.