Welcome to the Illinois Health Matters Blog

What health reform means for the people of Illinois

A blog by IllinoisHealthMatters.org

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Marks a Scary Time for Health Care in Illinois

If things don’t change soon, health care could be in for major setbacks in Illinois. The State budget battle is approaching its fifth month and counting.  So far, Medicaid payments continue per court order, but other services are beginning to run out of money:
  • State payments to 911 call centers throughout the Illinois have been suspended, putting emergency services in jeopardy. 
  • Illinois has stopped paying medical and dental claims for 150,000 state employees. The long-term cost of delayed care for a group of this size could be far greater than the cost of paying for care and preventative care today. 
  • The state’s Psychiatric Leadership Capacity Grant, which was $27 million in the State’s FY2015 budget, is no longer being funded, affecting most of the 140 community health centers in Illinois and thousands of people who rely on them for psychiatric care. 
The longer the State budget impasse continues, the more services will be cut. These include services that indirectly have an impact on Illinois health care, such as after-school programs to keep kids out of trouble and supplemental nutrition programs, especially for the older adults.

It’s Not Too Late to Raise Your Voice!  

Contact your State legislators to let them know how concerned you are about the future of health care in Illinois. Tell them that Illinois seniors and children are especially vulnerable. We can’t let cuts affect them.Many program cuts will result in greater costs to the State in the not-so-long run. For example:
  • Home care services and home delivered meals to seniors citizens cost a fraction of the $75,000 annual cost of nursing home care. Cuts to these programs will mean more seniors ending up in nursing homes, paid for by Medicaid. 
  • Cut backs to after-school programs and Department of Children and Family Services support for older children will mean more kids and young adults intersecting with the justice system. Even short-term incarceration can pay for a full year of after-school activities for a child.
  • Cut backs to mental health services will only cause an increase in city and country jail populations where the State will not only have to provide mental health services, but food, clothing and shelter. 
And remind them that, as the State’s infrastructure crumbles and the State’s bond ratings tumble, it will only get more and more expensive to catch up.

Phillip Lanier
Health Policy Intern
Health & Disability Advocates