Chicago, U.S.A. – Medicaid cuts being considered in Springfield would cost thousands of jobs and threaten care at nursing homes across the state, according to nursing home administrators, health care leaders and elected officials who rallied at the Thompson Center in Chicago. The event was organized by the Health Care Council of Illinois (HCCI), which represents more than 500 nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities across the state of Illinois.
“Nursing homes are the 10th largest employer in the state,” Pat Comstock, HCCI Executive Director, told the crowd. “We employ 100,000 workers who pay their taxes and support their families. At a time when 70 cents of every dollar a nursing home spends is for staff wages, these Medicaid cuts could cause thousands of layoffs across Illinois.”
Legislators are considering Governor Quinn’s proposal to slash Medicaid spending by $2.7 billion. The proposed cuts to nursing homes could drastically jeopardize the quality of care for the more than 50,000 people residing in Illinois nursing homes who pay with Medicaid. These cuts put nursing homes at risk for closing, especially some Chicago nursing homes where Medicaid recipients make up more than 90 percent of the resident population.
“We’ve been traveling Illinois for the past few weeks, making 16 stops, calling on lawmakers and Governor Quinn to step up to the plate for nursing home residents,” Comstock continued. She invoked the baseball metaphor in calling upon the General Assembly to support nursing homes.
“The State of Illinois is dead last in the nation for the amount of Medicaid funds the state gives nursing homes. That’s strike one,” Comstock said. “The state is more than $600 million and eight months delinquent in paying most nursing homes. That’s strike two. Illinois must not strike out when it comes to our most frail, vulnerable residents.”
In addition to the multi-city tour and rally, nursing home staff from across Illinois have been visiting Springfield, meeting with legislators and urging them to give nursing home residents top priority for Medicaid funding.