Nursing home residents protest proposed Medicaid cuts - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Nursing home residents protest proposed Medicaid cuts

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM)-- Angry Nursing home residents across Illinois are fighting against Governor Pat Quinn's plan to slash Medicaid funding by 6%.

Quinn says the plan could save the state millions, but opponents say it would be at the expense of healthcare facilities who accept medicaid patients, and could harm patient care.

Today the Health Care Council of Illinois held a rally in Quincy to raise awareness about the plan, before it's approved.

More than 100 different voices, but all with the same message for Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly, don't cut Medicaid funding.

"The governor has proposed a 6% cut in their rates that are paid for by Medicaid residents at facilities like this one around the state," said Pat Comstock, Executive Director of the Health Care Council of Illinois.

Nursing homes would see the biggest impact, a 6% cut translates to about $70 million fewer dollars in state Medicaid payments, and with the federal government matching those Medicaid dollars, Illinois healthcare providers would lose about 140 million dollars total. Organizers say the cuts would cost about 7,000 jobs in the Illinois healthcare field.

"One of the possible things that might happen is that facilities like Sycamore would decide they just wouldn't want to serve Medicaid residents anymore. And that would be a problem because the residents here would lost their home," Comstock said.

Other nursing homes could reduce services or charge more to people who pay privately for their loved one's care. That's the situation Olin Shuler could be facing. His wife has been at Sycamore since 2004.

"The cuts are being extracted from the people who can give them the least resistance while the high paid state employees and retired benefit former employees of the state have the power to keep their incomes solid," Shuler said.

With one rally at a time, these residents and their family members are hoping to make their message heard. State lawmakers are already debating the bill and should come to a vote by the end of the month.

Sunday's rally was just one stop in a 17 city tour across the state of Illinois.

Organizers are collecting signatures they plan to give to Governor Pat Quinn to show how many people are against the Medicaid cuts.

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