CHICAGO -- Cook County, Ill. President Toni Preckwinkle Thursday unveiled a nearly $3 billion fiscal 2013 spending plan for the nation’s second-largest county that relies on the new federal health care law as well as taxes on bullets, guns, cigarettes, and gambling to cure a $267 million shortfall.

County officials are expecting federal approval of a so-called 1115 waiver within the next few weeks, which would allow the county to expand its Medicaid program starting in 2013 as opposed to waiting until 2014, when the Affordable Care Act formally takes effect. The expansion would bring in $98 million -- the largest piece of Preckwinkle’s plan to bring down the 2013 deficit.

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