A new report says Illinois is going to have some big bills to pay in the next five years, but controlling the biggest cost may be very tough.
The Civic Federation, a Chicago based policy group, released a report Monday that paints a grim picture of Illinois' finances. The report says the state could owe $34 billion dollars in unpaid bills by 2017. Many of those will be for Medicaid, the biggest line item in the budget.
The report says Illinois will spend $14 billion on Medicaid this year, and a lot more over the next five years.
Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says she's been warning about Medicaid explosion for years.
The Civic Federation's Laurence Msall says lawmakers must act on reforms now.
But that's not going to be easy. The new federal healthcare law limits how much Illinois can trim Medicaid eligibility to cut costs.
Topinka says if lawmakers can't find savings, something else in the state budget is going to have to go.