Governor Quinn and the legislators in Springfield have been faced with an impossible task: save the Illinois budget while preserving important programs. In order to save $2.7 billion, the legislators have raised the cigarette tax and cut 62 different programs amid great controversy.
As you can see on the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Medicaid spending reductions worksheet, the 62 reduced or eliminated programs are listed. Adult chiropractic services are listed as spending reduction #7 and were eliminated, saving the state an estimated $884,500 per year. One wonders why this particular elimination was so important, since the overall elimination savings from all 62 programs add up to $1,600,063,100. At less than a million dollars of a $1.6 billion dollar savings project, adult chiropractic services are clearly no more than a drop in the proverbial bucket, and one of the smallest savings in the entire worksheet. For comparison purposes, glance at spending reduction #59: the savings included by using generic drugs instead of high cost name brand drugs are estimated at $77,700,000, or nearly 90 times as much savings.
Even though the cost of adult chiropractic services have been minimal, and indeed an afterthought in previous Medicaid budgets due to the remarkably low reimbursements provided to chiropractors, we chiropractors have provided a vastly important resource to the state of Illinois in the area of musculoskeletal conditions. If a Medicaid patient has back or neck pain, for example, they have had three courses of action: 1) go to a medical doctor, 2) go to an emergency room, or 3) go to a chiropractor.
The number of medical doctors accepting new Medicaid patients has been dwindling over recent years, making it possible that many Medicaid patients do not even have a primary care physician. If the Medicaid patient decides to go to an emergency room, their musculoskeletal problem will always wait until more severely injured patients are appropriately taken care of, causing wasted time and energy for all parties. If the Medicaid patient decided to come to a chiropractor, they could be assured of specific treatments for their musculoskeletal conditions, at a minimal cost to the state.
However, now that adult chiropractic services have been eliminated from next year's Medicaid budget, those same patients have lost the least expensive and most helpful treatment option, forcing them to visit the emergency room or their primary care physician more often. And, indeed, the Illinois Chiropractic Society projects that this elimination will actually cost the state of Illinois more.
(It is important to note that children's chiropractic services have not been eliminated.)
Governor Quinn has said, "[Passage of this budget] is the first step toward saving Medicaid for those that rely upon it." Medicaid may have been saved, but those who rely upon it are losing treatment options quickly. Adult chiropractic services are not the only important service to be eliminated. Dental services have been eliminated for all Medicaid patients except in the case of emergencies (this is #6 on the Medicaid spending reduction worksheet).
Governor Quinn celebrated the passage of his budget and cigarette tax by saying, “By working together to pass these bills, strong progress has been made in our mission to restructure Medicaid, so that it serves as a health and wellness system instead of a provider-payment system. As a result, our Medicaid system will continue to serve the millions of Illinois residents who rely on it."
Johnson Family Chiropractic has been proud to serve the adult Medicaid population, and will continue to look for ways to make chiropractic care an affordable health care option for those who cannot afford anything else.
Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
All images used are under Creative Commons license.
Although every effort has been made to provide an accurate description of our chiropractic care and its benefits, the information given on this website and blog is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, medical advice for any condition.
If you have any questions regarding your condition, you should seek the help of Dr. Johnson in person, so that he may properly assess your condition.
This blog is provided by Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria, S.C., proudly located in Peoria, IL.