CHICAGO -- Illinois officials have missed a Dec. 20 federal deadline to explain how they will pay $900 million of overdue Medicaid bills, while they continue to debate a possible debt restructuring plan to cover the cost.

The Health Care Financing Administration is reviewing Illinois' plans to shift 1.1 million Medicaid patients into a managed-care program known as MediPlan Plus. On Dec. 2, agency officials delayed a decision on the state's application for a waiver of federal law and asked for more detailed explanations of the plan's operation and funding.

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