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.
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.