We are the State of Illinois' principal partner in providing exceptional pediatric specialty care to Illinois' most fragile children. These sick and injured children and their families rely upon the Medicaid program because they lack the financial resources to pay for medical treatment. Many of them have complex medical problems that have caused them to exhaust their commercial insurance, so Medicaid is their safety net.
Medicaid is the single largest insurer of children in our country, and one in three children in Chicago rely upon the service. Lurie Children's treats more children insured by Medicaid than any other hospital in Illinois. Because more than 50 percent of our inpatients are insured by Medicaid, Lurie Children's is one of 19 hospitals in Illinois deemed a "safety net hospital" by the state in 2012.
Given federal and state proposals to either cut Medicaid funding or implement HMO-style Medicaid managed care plans, we remain gravely concerned about the negative impact on children and their access to necessary healthcare.
As policymakers consider national health reform in Washington, D.C., we are working to ensure that Medicaid works for children. Specifically, we are advocating that policymakers improve access to specialty care for children by addressing the inadequate Medicaid payments for pediatric specialists.