- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

CHICAGO (AP) - A lawyer has told a federal judge in a civil case surrounding billions of dollars in unpaid Medicaid bills that trying to squeeze money out of Illinois as it heads into a third year without a budget is like trying to squeeze “blood out of a stone.”

His comments came at a hearing Wednesday in Chicago on a request from Medicaid recipients that Judge Joan Lefkow order Illinois to pay $1 billion a month to ensure care for the poor and others isn’t jeopardized. Illinois would pay half and federal funds would match that.

State attorney Brent Stratton said Illinois can’t come close to finding a spare $500 million. He said it could pay $150 million at best, half paid by federal funds.

Lefkow said she hoped to rule Friday.

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