SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois lawmakers are taking a major step on the state's budget problems by slashing health care services for the poor.
Opponents predict the Medicaid cuts will mean suffering and even death for some of the state's most vulnerable residents.
Illinois officials are trying to close a $2.7 billion hole in the Medicaid budget.
Legislation approved Thursday evening would cut about $1.5 billion, mostly in services but also partly in payments to hospitals and other Medicaid providers.
Both the House and Senate approved the cuts, which now go to the governor.
Lawmakers will vote separately on raising the state cigarette tax by $1 a pack. That will help fill the rest of the Medicaid budget gap.
The bill is SB2840.