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Rauner's Veto of HB1424 Jeopardizes Services for Seniors, Persons with Disabilities

In response to Governor Rauner's recent veto of HB1424, Health & Medicine's Executive Director Margie Schaps, MPH and Phyllis Mitzen, MSW, Consultant for our Center for Long-Term Care Reform released the following statement:
 
Governor Rauner’s veto of HB1424 as reported in the Sun Times on Sunday, Dec 31, which was intended to preserve the Community Care Program (CCP) may foreshadow a blow to the thousands of older adults and persons with disability who rely on this program to remain living in their communities rather than moving into a nursing home.  

The Community Care Program was initiated in Illinois in the 1970’s with Medicaid waivers intended to divert people from unnecessary nursing home placements.  Now, with the growing numbers of older adults in Illinois and adults with disabilities living longer, more people are turning to the CCP for help, making the program appear more costly (although not more costly than if more people move to nursing homes).  

There is no doubt that this program requires review and modernization, but this is precisely why the legislature, in conjunction with HB1424, also established a high level task force to make recommendations to modernize the program and establish a framework to put it on sound financial footing for the future.  This report is due to the legislature on January 31, 2018.  

Governor Rauner’s veto undermines the ability of our most vulnerable citizens to receive the services they need to safely live in their communities, and undermines the efforts of the legislature and advocates to recommend and enact meaningful and lasting changes in the funding and service delivery of this critically important program. The Community Reinvestment Program being promoted by the Rauner Administration, which would cover 50% of the people currently receiving help from CCP, is untested, leaving these people at the mercy of geographic resources and waiting lists. Governor Rauner should hold off on any decisions on the CCP program until the Task Force recommendations are released at the end of January. We in Illinois can and should do better to provide a safety net for people who need help – it is the right thing to do, morally and economically.