Cook County last week announced it received a long-awaited federal approval for a so-called 1115 Medicaid waiver, allowing the county to expand its Medicaid program and a key to balancing the county's proposed 2013 $3 billion budget.

The waiver allows the county to enroll the patients a year ahead of the formal start of the new law. The administration expects to save more than $95 million by enrolling 115,000 patients into the expanded program a year ahead of the formal start of the new law, board President Toni Preckwinkle said.

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