Illinois hospitals, nursing homes and pharmacies are again feeling financial pain because of the state's budget problems. The state is slowing down payments to businesses that care for poor people under the Medicaid program. That means they have the expense of providing services but often wait up to four months to be paid. Tony Sartoris manages a small chain of pharmacies and says the state owes him about two million dollars. He got especially mad recently when the state sent a check for just $6.27. The state's backlog is about 1.4 billion dollars. The average payment time is 62 business days. Officials are discussing a short-term loan so the state can catch up on bills.
The governor and comptroller support the idea, but Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka says she still has questions.