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Sen. Cultra Wants to Require Drug Testing for Medicaid Recipients

State Senator Shane Cultra has come up with one way to try and reign in Medicaid costs.

Legislation sponsored by the Onarga Republican would require drug testing for those on public aid. It would require an initial test when applying for Medicaid, and subsequent random tests for current recipients. Cultra says the measure serves a dual purpose in that it targets those who need help, who will cost the state more if they aren't treated.

"There's going to be a cost savings just in identifiying those that are on drugs," he said. "Usually, there are family situations there. It's better for the family, it's better for everyone involved."

Cultra says he's confident the measure will get co-sponsors, but is skeptical the measure will find its way through the legislature in the approaching fall veto session. He says Democrats haven't looked kindly on similar measures.

The Senator notes federal regulators have objected to bi-partisan Medicaid reforms that were passed in January. One of them would have required applicants to produce more than one pay stub to prove income eligibility. But Cultra says any other method that Illinois attempts is considered a 'new' and forbidden eligibility restriction.

'I don't understand why they would do that, but even if we got this passed, maybe the federal government would do the same thing, we don't know," he said. "But I think it's a start."

Cultra says reforming Medicaid and other entitlement programs has to start somewhere. He says savings from the bill could 'astronomical' if it properly identified those who get their lives turned around.

Categories: Government, Health, Politics