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Deadbeat Illinois.

January 7, 2013

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Long-term care Medicaid patients will soon be turned away. They will die as a result. Photo: Springfield Journal Register.

As a Illinois House committee votes on the Nekritz pension bomb today, keep making those phone calls.

But in the mean time, let us momentarily set the pension issue aside but continue the discussion of why this is a revenue problem,  not a pension problem.

Illinois is rich, but the state government is broke.

It is the result of the fact that Illinois is among the lowest taxing states and lowest spending states in the US. Combined with a flat income tax that treats rich and poor exactly the same, we have a recipe for disaster.

A disturbing article in the Springfield Journal Register this morning is a good place to start.

Illinois elderly patients requiring long-term care are being screwed, as are the facilities that care for them.

ROCKFORD — Organizations that provide long-term care for the elderly in Illinois operate in a kind of business limbo, unsure of when they’ll receive from the state the Medicaid reimbursements they rely on to keep their doors open.

Right now, the payment backlog is about six months, forcing organizations to find creative ways to manage without half of the annual revenue that finances care for two-thirds of patients in nursing homes and about 60 percent of those in assisted-living centers.

Illinois deliberately delays paying its bills in an effort to manage its broken finances. The practice shifts the burden onto all sorts of state contractors, including long-term care facilities, which must borrow money and, in some cases, leave  jobs vacant as they wait on the state.

The most terrifying result of all of this is that soon long-term care facilities will simply turn away those patients who are on Medicaid.

They will die as a result.

Even crazy Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka will tell you there is no way the state can pay its bills.

The situation is so bad, that the Springfield Journal Register is running a series.

Reporters from GateHouse Illinois newsrooms examine the real-world effects of the state’s failure to pay its bills. Each Monday, we’ll share the stories of those affected.

 Every Monday.

They will document the results of Illinois’ low tax on the rich-low spending on the needy economic policy.

They won’t be pretty stories.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    January 7, 2013 8:52 am

    Saw the Monday deal that is proposed…wonder if Madigan is running down the clock…or is he going to get the funding part thru…knowing that any diminishment of COLA is not going to hold up in court…and then illinois will have to pass graduated income tax…In chicago pension…it is not even called COLA but Annual automatic increase as this was deferred compensation in multiple contracts for decades

  2. January 7, 2013 1:22 pm

    the private non profit my wife works for received 3,000 from the state last month. i`m not sure how many medicaid people receives this but the state also funds other programs where she works.

  3. claudette thomas radke permalink
    January 7, 2013 2:30 pm

    fred: worked at one of illinois correctional centers for over twenty-five years. the institution is nearly eighty years old, cockroach infested, racoons in the cellhouse attics, sometimes there was hot water sometimes not. onetime i was about to make a hall check and an outdated flourescent light fixture dropped twelve feet from the ceiling and crashed to the floor. i saw worms in the shower drain in one building. the concrete fire escape stairs were crumbling. i pushed the lamp test button on the cellhouse control panel to check the control panel lights and it short circuited and opened six cell doors that were on deadlock. i sat with the locksmith at lunch and for thirty minutes he complained that the main door locks on the cell houses were obsolete and almost impossible to fix. a safety and sanitation lieutenant told me the institution would require 98 million dollars to bring up to code. a fellow officer was driving an inmate to a doctors appointment and the axel broke on the vehicle. inmates with severe psychiatric problems who depend on regular treatment and monitoring of their medications are regularly released and are dependent on public health services which are being done away with. i could go on.

  4. January 7, 2013 9:22 pm

    For years the State of Illinois underfunded social programs as well as education. Shame on all of us for standing for it. I heard that the fine dining industry in Chicago is gearing up for a spectacular year. Maybe some of the profits can be taxed to help people who will die unless they receive funding.

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